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Deferred Prosecutions Under Fire

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March 24, 2015

Deferred prosecutions for corporate crimes are rampant and ineffectual, according to the author of a new book featured on National Public Radio. Brandon Garrett of the University of Virginia law school, author of “Too Big to Jail,” tells NPR’s Jim Zarroli that it took some digging, but he found there have been more than 300 deferred prosecution deals in the last decade. Many of them, he says, were vaguely written and allowed companies that enter into them to monitor their own compliance. Basically, according to Garrett, the government says “Do some best practices, please.” Some companies, notably UBS and Barclays, have continued to break the law after entering into these agreements, and last week a DOJ official warned it will back off on these agreements for repeat offenders. The NPR report also includes comments defending them from a former DOJ prosecutor, and it recalls the poster-child case for the defenders, the not-deferred prosecution of Arthur Andersen, which did in the company and resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs.

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