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The Impact on Director and Officer Behavior: Reflective Essays

By Donald C. Langevoort


I fall on the side of the skeptics about whether criminal liability in financial reporting cases is a healthy tool because I have doubts about whether judgments are likely to be proportionate. And proportionality is a very important measure in criminal law for two reasons. First, we expect the punishment to fit the crime as a matter of justice. Secondly, if we have disproportionately harsh treatment, then the behavior of officers and directors in response to over-deterrence is that they will pay too much attention to matters that are precautionary as opposed to profit-generating. And the point of a business is to be entrepreneurial. That is a fairly familiar point, but worth emphasizing

Topics: financial statements, commercial crimes, criminal liability, Business Organizations Law, Criminal Law
Publisher: Scholarship @ GEORGETOWN LAW
Year: 2007
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