The Corporation as Snitch: The New DOJ Guidelines on Prosecuting White Collar Crime

8 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2015

See all articles by Elizabeth E. Joh

Elizabeth E. Joh

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Thomas Wuil Joo

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Date Written: October 16, 2015

Abstract

Volkswagen, the world’s largest auto maker, acknowledged in September 2015 that it had equipped its cars with software designed to cheat diesel emissions tests. The VW scandal may become the first major test of the Department of Justice’s recently announced guidelines that focus on individual accountability in white collar criminal investigations. Criminal investigations into safety defects at two other leading car makers, General Motors and Toyota, yielded no criminal charges against any individuals. But in a recent speech announcing the new guidelines, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates stated, “Crime is crime,” whether it takes place “on the street corner or in the boardroom.” “The rules have just changed.” We raise questions about this new approach and some of its possible implications. The new cooperation policy’s emphasis on individual prosecutions could itself result in leniency: prosecutors may award excessively generous credit to corporations in order to build cases against individuals.

Keywords: white collar crime, criminal law, criminal procedure, department of justice, Volkswagen, prosecution

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Joh, Elizabeth E. and Joo, Thomas Wuil, The Corporation as Snitch: The New DOJ Guidelines on Prosecuting White Collar Crime (October 16, 2015). Virginia Law Review Online, 2015, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2675266

Elizabeth E. Joh (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

400 Mrak Hall Drive
Davis, CA 95616-5201
United States

Thomas Wuil Joo

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall
400 Mrak Hall Dr.
Davis, CA 95616-5201
United States
(530) 754-6089 (Phone)
(530) 752-4704 (Fax)

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