Institutional Competence and Organizational Prosecutions

Daniel C. Richman, Columbia Law School

Copyright is owned by the Virginia Law Review Association and the article is used by permission of the Virginia Law Review Association.


The business pages regularly provide graphic stories about corporate deferred prosecution agreements (“DPAs”). And commentators regularly fulminate about this alleged abuse of government power, quite confident (or willfully blind to the fact) that the removal of this non-nuclear option from the prosecutorial arsenal would substantially lessen the ability of prosecutors to obtain cooperation from firms and their employees. Yet this emerging practice has received all too little scholarly attention, and Professor Brandon Garrett has made an important contribution by carefully examining the available facts and creatively drawing on the structure reform literature to highlight questions it raises about legitimacy and institutional competence.