Corporate Crime and Plea Bargains

Authors: 
Uriel Procaccia
Eyal Winter
Abstract: 

Corporate entities enjoy legal subjectivity in a variety of forms, but they are not human beings, and hence their legal capacity to bear rights and obligations of their own is not universal. This paper explores, from a normative point of view, one of the limits that ought to be set on the capacity of corporations to act "as if" they had a human nature, their capacity to commit crime. Accepted wisdom has it that corporate criminal liability is justified as a measure to deter criminal behavior. Our analysis supports this intuition in one subset of cases, but also reveals that deterrence might in fact be undermined in another subset of cases, especially in an environment saturated with plea bargains involving serious violations of the law.

Date: 
March, 2016
Number: 
697