Thursday, April 27, 2017
In the aftermath of financial and corporate frauds, aggressive government policy is apparent. But while touting a crackdown to correct past prosecution failures, one sees the government using shortcuts in both agency policy and prosecutorial practices. These shortcuts can be seen in the investigative, charging, and plea areas. There is an increased use of search warrants, wiretaps and failures to adhere to criminal discovery obligations. So too, one sees the government charging shortcut offenses such as perjury, obstruction of justice and false statements as opposed to the underlying conduct that was initially being investigated. Taking advantage of over-federalization and over-criminalization is seen in the stacking of multiple charges, tacking on conspiracy and money-laundering offenses, and in adding new plea waivers to secure finality of all issues and avoid future litigation. While these aggressive policy moves may seem efficient, the use of shortcuts has serious consequences that undermine deterrence and legitimacy in the criminal justice process.