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April 2018 , Page 62 

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Book Review: The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives

By Catherine M. Recker and Andrew T. George

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The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives

By Jesse Eisinger
Simon & Schuster (2017)


Who (or what) killed the corporate criminal prosecution? That is the question at the heart of Jesse Eisinger’s The Chickenshit Club, an inquest into the reasons why (in Eisinger’s view) federal prosecutors have lost the skills, guts, and legal tools needed to successfully prosecute companies and the executives who work there.

Eisinger’s title borrows from a 2002 speech by then-U.S. Attorney James Comey. Speaking to gathered SDNY prosecutors proud of their undefeated courtroom records, Comey famously took them down several pegs, telling them, “You are members of what we like to call the Chickenshit Club.”

Comey’s point was that prosecutors shirk their duty to enforce the law by only trying slam-dunk cases. If a prosecutor is convinced that a defendant committed a crime worthy of punishment, Comey said, then that prosecutor should be willing to risk losing at trial. Who c

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