Using the Corporate Prosecution and Sentencing Model for Individuals: The Case for a Unified Federal Approach
23 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2021 Last revised: 30 Jun 2021
Date Written: December 31, 2020
This essay explores the different approaches the Department of Justice and Sentencing Commission have taken to individual and corporate defendants and explain why aspects of the corporate model should apply to individual cases as well. Part I will describe the key attributes of the modern federal model for individuals. Its emphasis is on controlling the discretion of line prosecutors and judges and shows a marked preference for severity. Part II will explain how the approach to corporate criminal law enforcement emphasizes individual assessment, the need to balance the costs of punishment with its benefits, and an emphasis on considering other sanctions in making charging and sentencing decisions. Part III will explore some of the lessons the federal approach to corporations has to offer for cases involving individuals. There is no reason to maintain a policy that sees the value in saving and recognizing the worth of companies, but ignores the value in saving and recognizing the worth of individuals.
Keywords: Federal criminal law, sentencing, prosecution, corporate crime, Sentencing Guidelines, charging decisions
JEL Classification: K14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation