Richard McAdams reviews Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations
One is an epistemic complaint: that the public and policymakers do not know enough about corporate crime and punishment to formulate good policy. As stated, we don’t know much about how prosecutors exercise discretion; we also don’t know the corporate crime rate or how corporations respond to various sanctions. As a result, “there are fundamental questions that cannot be answered.”
The second theme is a law-and-order complaint: that prosecutors are too lenient, employing “too much carrot and too little stick,” and “fail[ing] to effectively punish the most serious corporate crimes.” “One wonders why so little is typically done to deter or correct” egregious corporate misbehavior. Garrett says that debarment should be used more frequently; that monitoring should be more common and the monitor should report to the judge, who should have more power to supervise prosecutorial agreements; that fines in various cases should have been higher. He is particularly critical of DPAs and NPAs, which he thinks should be used less frequently in favor of guilty pleas or trials. Indeed, these procedures are the “compromise” in the book’s subtitle, “How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations,” which winds up connoting: how prosecutors capitulate to corporations.