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Criminal Procedure

2018

Duke Law

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Why Do Prosecutors Say Anything? The Case Of Corporate Crime, Samuel W. Buell Jan 2018

Why Do Prosecutors Say Anything? The Case Of Corporate Crime, Samuel W. Buell

Faculty Scholarship

Criminal procedure law does not require prosecutors to speak outside of court. Professional regulations and norms discourage and sometimes prohibit prosecutors from doing so. Litigation often rewards strategic and tactical maintenance of the element of surprise. Institutional incentives encourage bureaucrats, especially those not bound by procedural requirements of administrative law, to decline to commit themselves to future action. In the always exceptional field of corporate crime, however, the Department of Justice and federal line prosecutors have developed practices of signaling and describing their exercise of discretion through detailed press releases, case filings, and policy documents. This contribution to a symposium ...