June 6, 2006
What to Say When Arrested
The New York Times here discusses the arrest of a Japanese businessman. Arrested for allegedly participating in insider trading, the arrestee in Japan appears to take a different position than would be taken if this arrest were in the United States.
In the US, the individual's attorney would likely tell the accused to avoid making any comments, especially to the press. This makes certain that statements are not used against the defendant when he or she goes to trial. In the rare case that a statement is made, it is scripted to send a message that will assist in the case.
But a Japanese businessman, even before the issuing of the indictment, publicly admitted that he had "broken the law." (see here) Even though facing three years in prison if convicted, he openly "apologize[d] for the violation."
If the sentences in the United States were reasonable, as opposed to white collar offenders now being subject to what can amount to life sentences, might more individuals be amenable to coming forward and entering pleas? Might this shaming suffice to deter future criminality? Would this provide more efficiency in that we would not have to spend the astronomical costs for a trial? Should our studies go beyond learning the Japanese business model, and include a study of how shaming can promote business compliance.
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Though your comments intrigue me, I think the cultural differences are significantly different:
1. The "shaming" aspect is very cultural and it is common for executives to take responsibility even before a criminal trial. Top execs often step down even when they may not be personally responsible.
2. The criminal justice system in Japan gets many convictions- much higher than in the US. So defendants Skilling and Lay wanted their chance before the jury.
That said, agree that the costs (financial and personal) are exhorbitant in the US
Posted by: Kelley Ritchey | Jun 7, 2006 8:31:50 AM