DeCoster v. United States

Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Cause of Action Institute, and the National Association of Manufacturers as Amici Curiae in Support of Petitioners (on Petition for Writ of Certiorari). 

Brief filed: 02/10/2017


DeCoster v. United States

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 16-877

Prior Decision

Case below 828 F.3d 626 (8th Cir. July 6, 2016).


This case presents important questions regarding the fairness of vicarious criminal liability. The Park Doctrine violates the Due Process Clause. It is almost impossible for corporate officers to defend against vicarious criminal liability charges. Convictions for vicarious liability offenses carry serious collateral consequences. At a minimum, it is important for the Court to resolve whether an individual convicted under a vicarious liability theory can be sentenced to a term of imprisonment. Subjecting individuals to prison sentences for the acts and thoughts of others is improper. Imposing prison sentences for vicarious liability offenses is part of a broader over-criminalization trend.

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Clifford W. Berlow, Ashley N. Van Zelst, Nathaniel K.S. Wackman, and Grace C. Signorelli-Cassady, Jenner & Block, Chicago, IL; Shana-Tara O'Toole, NACDL, Washington, DC.