Punishment for Corporate Crime

I replied to the NY Times editorial about Barclay's Bank this morning, July 3 2012, as follows:
The mounting levels of corporate crime, such as those of Barclay's and Glaxo, when combined with the apparent immunity of responsible officials from personal criminal liability, suggests that we need to fix the criminal laws and sentences that apply to corporations. We have an aggressive Dept. of Justice, but it just can't penetrate the screens of deniability that top corporate officials maintain. It can't prove guilty knowledge beyond a reasonable doubt, so these malefactors walk free, and continue to enjoy the trappings of respect and wealth. 

What we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt, however, is the criminal guilt of the corporations themselves. Since they are now "persons," and like Glaxo can plead guilty to crimes, we need a corporate version of jail. Fines are just a "cost of doing business," like paying bribes in Nigeria. But why not require criminally convicted firms to suspend the payment of dividends, or of executive bonuses and stock options? There are many creative possibilities for punishing criminal concerns that fall well short of injuring the least responsible employees. We need to pursue this option, because a society that does not punish its criminals cannot claim to have a rule of law.

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