October 8, 2011
New Scholarship -New Crimes and Punishments: A Case Study Regarding the Impact of Over-Criminalization on White Collar Criminal Cases
Lucian Dervan, Southern Illinois, has a new article titled, "New Crimes and Punishments: A Case Study Regarding the Impact of Over-Criminalization on White Collar Criminal Cases." The abstract states in part:
"While much has been written about the plethora of negative consequences resulting from over-criminalization generally, it is worth noting that not everyone believes these negative consequences outweigh the potential benefits that might flow from the two types of over-criminalization discussed in this article. First, some might argue that repeatedly increasing the statutory maximums for white collar offenses is justified because doing so means culpable individuals will receive longer prison sentences reflective of their conduct and, in addition, others will be deterred from committing such crimes. Second, some might argue that enacting broad new criminal provisions in areas already criminalized is justified because such enactments provide prosecutors with the tools necessary to ensure that creative and sophisticated white collar criminals are brought to justice in larger numbers, thereby deterring others from committing similar offenses. This article will examine the accuracy of the underlying premises utilized by both of these “justifications” for the over-criminalization discussed herein – (a) the assumption that increasing statutory maximums results in ever lengthening sentences for individual white collar defendants, and (b) the assumption that enacting additional laws that are vague and overlapping in areas already criminalized results in increased levels of enforcement against white collar criminals. Through such an examination, this article seeks to understand whether new crimes and punishments really achieve their intended goals and, if not, what this means for the over-criminalization debate and, in particular, the over-criminalization “justifications” discussed above."
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