Non-Prosecution and Deferred Prosecution Agreements

779 WordsJun 25, 20184 Pages
Just like people, corporations have the capability of committing criminal acts. The Enron scandal in 2001; the Bernard Madoff ponzi-scheme of 2008-2009; both of these examples show that despite internal and external controls, regulations, and oversight, corporations still are a multi-faceted entity that have the propensity to partake in crime. That being true, that criminal entity must be punished and held responsible for their actions. One tool in the prosecutorial tool belt is the use of deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements. According to Lanny Breuer, the United States Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, “over the last decade, deferred prosecution agreements have become a mainstay of white collar criminal law…show more content…
Mary Jo White, the chairwomen of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), explains that DPAs and NPAs can facilitate a middle ground between “punishment and practicality ((Debold et al, 2012). Since some corporations have a large impact on society as a whole, their punishment may end up punishing society as well. Ms. White describes this as the consequence of full criminal charges ((Debold et al, 2012). The resulting criminal indictment would be “considered negative” and would have “very undesirable collateral consequences to the public interest ((Debold et al, 2012). With that in mind, where would the appropriate justice be in this situation: prosecuting a corporation to fullest extent of the law, which may have untold consequences on society; or by utilizing NPAs and DPAs, and correcting the behavior through hefty fines, strict compliance rules, and prosecutorial oversight? I believe that the latter is the best appropriation of justice. An argument against NPAs and DPAs is the thought that it may “limit the punitive and deterrent value of the government’s law enforcement efforts” (Uhlmann, 2013). While the use of NPAs and DPAs allow corporations to escape from criminal charges and punishments, it allows, like a first time offender, to rectify their wrongs and prove that they can follow the law. It may not be an ideal method of fixing
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