Ted Knutson – Complinet – Sep. 13, 2010
An obscure federal advisory agency is about to issue rules that could have implications for the compliance community far beyond the body’s narrow congressionally mandated domain.
Effective November 1, the agency, the US Sentencing Commission, will offer guidance on when federal judges should impose lower fines and less harsh conditions on business entities that were convicted of crimes despite their having strong compliance programs.
Some critics say judges can and do ignore the guidelines with impunity, although judges who do so may find their rulings and rationales disparaged by appellate panels. But the guidance’s impact goes far beyond the small number of corporate convictions because it will affect decisions to bring criminal rather than civil cases in the first place.
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