Corporate Sentencing Guidelines
Evelyn E. C. Queen
The Corporate Sentencing Guidelines, which have been in effect since November 1, 1991, were promulgated by the United States Sentencing Commission.1 The guidelines are a radical change in the sentencing of corporations and organizations for criminal corporate misconduct. They represent a convergence of two modern trends: the increasing imposition of criminal liability on corporations for misconduct and the increasing need for harsh, determinate punishment for criminal offenses. More importantly the guidelines impose severe economic sanctions on every corporation, partnership, union, association, or other organization found guilty of a federal crime.
The practical effects of the guidelines are likely to be many and widespread and demand a practical guide to deal with them. The potential liability of corporations for the criminal acts of their individual employees and agents is vast, and the federal authorities now have strong incentives to pursue such prosecutions. Moreover, because the guidelines are premised on a philosophy of economic deterrence they provide substantial incentives to corporations, in advance of any criminal activity by their employees, to take steps to prevent such activity from occurring and to detect its commission when it occurs. Accordingly, every corporation, partnership, union, association, or other organization, regardless of size