Structural Reform Prosecution
105 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2006
In what I call a structural reform prosecution, prosecutors secure the cooperation of an organization in adopting internal reforms. No scholars have considered the problem of prosecutors seeking structural reform remedies, perhaps because until recently organizational prosecutions were themselves infrequent. In the past few years, however, federal prosecutors adopted a bold new prosecutorial strategy under which dozens of leading corporations entered into demanding settlements, including AIG, American Online, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Computer Associates, HealthSouth, KPMG, MCI, Merrill Lynch & Co, Monsanto, and Time Warner. To situate the DOJ's latest strategy, I frame alternatives to the pursuit of structural reform remedies as well as five alternative ways prosecutors can pursue structural reforms. To better understand what the DOJ accomplished by choosing to pursue structural reform and then doing so at the charging stage, I conducted an empirical study of the terms in all agreements the DOJ has negotiated to date. My study reveals imposition of deep governance reforms, consistent with the purposes of the Sentencing Guidelines, but also perceived prosecutorial abuses and some potential for overreaching. I conclude that given the breadth of prosecutorial discretion and the deferential, limited nature of judicial review, the guidance that the DOJ provides will chiefly define the future development of its emerging structural regime for deterring organizational crime.
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