Thursday, September 15, 2022

In this Article, I make the case in favor of abolishing corporate criminal liability. Criminal liability for corporations is peculiar, given that “entity liability” does not otherwise exist in criminal law. The legal system appropriately deals with law-breaking within other entities (such as police departments and labor unions) solely through criminal prosecutions of the individual offenders and civil suits against the entities within which criminality occurred. Corporate criminal liability is another example of overcriminalization, in which criminal law is unjustifiably used to address problems better dealt with through other means. Finally, corporate criminal liability is fundamentally incompatible with established legal principles governing criminal liability. Rather than squander limited resources on efforts to prosecute corporations and other business entities, we should invest in more robust civil regulation of businesses and increased prosecution of corporate officers and employees who abuse their positions by committing crimes.

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