Which of the following is true of the legal essence of criminal conduct
While individuals cannot escape criminal responsibility through reforms, we seem to believe that reforms can weaken their moral responsibility. “I`m a different person now” is a common response to a moral accusation: “I`m no longer the irresponsible youth who would hurt you this way.” What these answers usually mean is that the speaker no longer has the motivations or attitudes that led to the misconduct. Assuming that the speaker can say that credibly, we often think that it carries moral weight. In attempting to include both philosophers and jurists, this article occupies an awkward methodological space. Members of the two groups often have very different perspectives on the personality of the company. This has obvious implications for the attempt to develop a theory of the company`s personal identity. Consistent with long-standing common law jurisprudence, lawyers tend to view legal personality as a legal fiction (Dewey, 1926, pp. 655-673; Laufer, 1994, p. 650). They think that for pragmatic reasons, we pretend that companies are people – who own property, sue and can be sued, etc.
– when they really are not. Among philosophers, the question of corporate personality is a question of more open and questionable metaphysics. Many philosophers believe that, at least as far as legal personality is concerned, complex enterprises often have it (Pettit 2007). Each state decides what conduct is called a crime. Thus, each state has its own penal code. Congress also decided to punish certain conduct and codify federal criminal law in Title 18 of the U.S. law. Criminal laws vary widely between states and the federal government.
While some laws are similar to the common law penal code, others, such as the New York Penal Code, mimic the Model Penal Code (MPC). Criminal act or actus reus is generally defined as illegal physical exercise (N.Y. Penal Law, 2010). The criminal law, or the case in jurisdictions that permit common law crimes, describes the element of the offence. Some of the remnants of reprisals can be remedied by condemning and punishing individuals. While this is not the purpose of this article, I do not want to suggest that corporate punishment should be the exclusive economic remedy. Individuals must also face criminal justice, regardless of whether the companies to which they belong have changed their identity sufficiently to avoid their own punishment. Synchronous identity issues are also common in corporate criminal law. There is not much controversy about what makes a company, such as a corporate charter, shareholders, directors and employees. But things can get complicated if we turn to the causal forces and want to know when the company did something, as opposed to just one of its human-sized parts that goes on the Spree itself. Academics have much to say on the subject, and criminal courts have long ruled in favor of the superior respondent doctrine.
Footnote 5 Respondeat superior imposes certain limits on the synchronous identity of firms – they are identified with their employees (and the things they do) only as long as employees work within the scope of their jobs and intend to benefit the company (O`Sullivan 2016, p. 157). Fisse, B. (1991). The attribution of criminal liability to companies: a legal model. Sydney Law Review, 13, 277. While the theory of criminal essence is retributively appropriate within the limited framework of corporate criminal law, we should ensure that it does not introduce unacceptable retributive effects into other areas of law. I see two possible concerns. The first is that the theory of criminal essence for defendant corporations will produce different results than our current criminal law allows for individuals. For example, under the theory of criminal nature, a criminal enterprise could erase its criminal responsibility by eliminating the organizational weaknesses that led it to commit its crime. Individuals do not have this possibility. This raises the possibility that the theory of criminal essence gives companies the possibility of an unfair pass for individuals.
It`s not clear if this critique will take off, as companies and individuals are such different types of entities – the former is extremely malleable, the latter has familiar biological constraints. But if, as cognitive science seems to suggest, we think of corporate responsibility in the same way as individual responsibility, I need an answer. Footnote 17 Recall the example in Chapter 1 “Introduction to the Criminal Law”, Section 1.2.1 “Example of Criminal Questions”, where Clara and Linda go shopping together and Clara stands there and watches Linda steal a bra. In this example, Clara is not required to report Linda for shoplifting. Clara has no contractual obligation to report in this situation, as she is not a law enforcement officer or security guard who is obligated by an employment contract. Nor does it have a special relationship with the company that requires such a report. Unless there is a law or regulation requiring individuals to report crimes committed in their presence, which is extremely unlikely, Clara Lindas can legally observe shoplifting without reporting it. If Clara helps Linda commit shoplifting, she has of course committed a crime or actus reus, and criminal prosecution is appropriate. Because it is passive, possession should be conscious, meaning that the defendant knows that he or she owns the object (Connecticut Jury Instructions No. 2.11-1, 2011). As stated in article 2.01, paragraph 4, of the Model Penal Code: “An act within the meaning of this article is an act when the possessor knowingly acquired or received the thing possessed or knew that he had control over it in order to be able to terminate its possession for a sufficient period of time.” In the vast majority of states, a law authorizing a conviction for possession without that person`s knowledge or knowledge lacks the element of criminal intent and would be unenforceable. Why has this intuition of individual moral responsibility not found its way into individual crime law? To some extent, I think that is the case.
This may be part of what underlies the statute of limitations for criminal liability. After a sufficiently long period without repetition of the same fault, the limitation period runs and a person becomes immune from prosecution. An intuitive explanation is that over time, without a new offence, it becomes increasingly likely that a person who has committed a crime in the past has other relevant motivations and attitudes, i.e. is now a “different person.” Fortunately, these two perspectives converge, as I explain below. The theory of corporate identity that best promotes the various objectives of corporate criminal law is the same theory that best aligns with our other commitments regarding the nature of the personal identity of the business. The different camps will probably deal with different parts of the article.