The Changing Face of Corporate Prosecutions

As legal persons, corporations can be criminals too — and never before has corporate criminal enforcement been so important in this country and across the globe. Billion dollar corporate criminal fines are now common events. Judges have intervened to supervise corporate prosecution agreements, and appellate courts have intervened to frustrate such supervision. Brandon Garrett gives an overview of the changing landscape of corporate criminal enforcement. He describes the trends in data collected on corporate prosecutions, including the remarkable rise in the size, but not the numbers, of federal corporate prosecutions in recent years. In addition, he discusses policy, including legislative proposals and changes to Department of Justice strategy. Finally, Garrett describes the changing global landscape, as other countries have reacted to and even imitated U.S.-style corporate prosecution approaches. Whether the billions in fines paid will have a real deterrent and preventative effect going forward may hinge on what the Department of Justice does next and how the next Department of Justice views its remarkable new role.