James W. Harlow


Since the nineteenth century, judges, legislators, prosecutors, and academics have grappled with how best to accommodate within the criminal law corporations whose conduct causes the death of others. The result of this debate was a gradual legal evolution towards acceptance of corporate criminal liability for homicide. But, as this Note argues, the underlying legal framework for such liability is ill fitting and largely ineffective. Given the public benefit that would accrue from a clearly defined and potent liability scheme, this Note proposes a model criminal statute that would hold corporations directly liable for homicide. The proposed statute draws upon basic precepts of corporate criminal liability, as well as legislative developments in the United Kingdom and the insights of organizational theory. Ultimately, this Note argues that a statutory scheme would allow prosecutions of corporations for homicide to proceed more accurately, effectively, and fairly.

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