Saturday, August 11, 2007

Massachusetts Considering Changes in Criminal Fines

According to, some Massachusetts legislators may be considering proposals to revise the fines given when there is a conviction of certain criminal laws. Criminal fines became a source of concern when a contractor was charged with a crime that carries a penalty of a fine of One Thousand ($1,000) Dollars.  The case charges involuntary manslaughter. 

The use of criminal penalties against corporations has developed over the years with increased responsibility being placed on corporations.  In recent years, the federal system has placed increased scrutiny on corporations with corporate compliance programs being the norm for businesses.  As corporations cannot be put into jail, the fines are the basis for punishing the business.  In reality, however, the shame caused a company charged with a crime can cause more significant ramifications.  Just ask Arthur Andersen, LLP - a company charged with a crime that had its conviction reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court.  The reversal meant little as the company was already devastated by the publicity surrounding the charges filed.

(esp)(w/ a hat tip to Jack King)

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