Cover image for Too big to jail : how prosecutors compromise with corporations
Title:
Too big to jail : how prosecutors compromise with corporations
Author:
Garrett, Brandon, author.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Massachusetts : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014.
Physical Description:
365 pages ; 25 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
United States vs. Goliath -- The company in the courtroom -- What happens to a prosecution deferred? -- The ostriches -- The victims -- The carrot and the stick -- Enter the monitors -- The constitutional rights of corporations -- Foreign corporate criminals -- The future of corporate prosecutions.
ISBN:
9780674368316
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

American courts routinely hand down harsh sentences to individual convicts, but a very different standard of justice applies to corporations. Too Big to Jail takes readers into a complex, compromised world of backroom deals, for an unprecedented look at what happens when criminal charges are brought against a major company in the United States.

Federal prosecutors benefit from expansive statutes that allow an entire firm to be held liable for a crime by a single employee. But when prosecutors target the Goliaths of the corporate world, they find themselves at a huge disadvantage. The government that bailed out corporations considered too economically important to fail also negotiates settlements permitting giant firms to avoid the consequences of criminal convictions. Presenting detailed data from more than a decade of federal cases, Brandon Garrett reveals a pattern of negotiation and settlement in which prosecutors demand admissions of wrongdoing, impose penalties, and require structural reforms. However, those reforms are usually vaguely defined. Many companies pay no criminal fine, and even the biggest blockbuster payments are often greatly reduced. While companies must cooperate in the investigations, high-level employees tend to get off scot-free.

The practical reality is that when prosecutors face Hydra-headed corporate defendants prepared to spend hundreds of millions on lawyers, such agreements may be the only way to get any result at all. Too Big to Jail describes concrete ways to improve corporate law enforcement by insisting on more stringent prosecution agreements, ongoing judicial review, and greater transparency.


Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Garrett (law, Univ. of Virginia Sch. of Law) offers a cri de coeur for more corporate criminal prosecutions. Using data that he compiled, the author demonstrates that the U.S. Department of Justice has been inconsistent in its enforcement of relevant laws. The book begins with a discussion of the prosecution of German company Siemens for paying foreign bribes. What distinguishes this title from others is its clear discussion of the corporate misdeeds. It contrasts pious pronouncements by companies with details of greed and evasion. Garrett questions why high-ranking corporate officers are not prosecuted. The government, he maintains, lacks the resources and inclination to close errant businesses. Instead, it prefers fines, deferred prosecution agreements, and highly paid monitors. Much of the book details failures in prosecutions, such as not prosecuting corporate officers and failing to consider victims' interests. The best part of the work is the author's charts; these show that environmental crimes have been prosecuted vigorously, but food and drug violations much less so. VERDICT A well-written, detailed expose for all audiences. Harry Charles, St. Louis (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.