Corporate Criminal Liability

THE CORE QUESTION is this: Can a corporation commit a crime? Some insist that the answer should be no. They argue that a corporation is an inanimate entity. It has no mind, no will, and no power to act except through the behavior of people who are in charge of it and those who work for it.

But the answer in the law that prevails in the United States is yes. A corporation may be convicted in a criminal court for acts that violate the penal law of the jurisdiction in which it is tried. The guilty corporation may be punished in a variety of ways: it can be made to surrender the license that allows it to carry on its business; it can be forced ...

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