Vol. 31, No. 1 (Spring
Criminalization as Policy: Using Federal Criminal Law as
William L. Anderson
Candice E. Jackson
Since the mid-1980s, the U.S. Department of Justice has increasingly
used criminal charges as a means to affect regulatory policy.
From the Wall Street prosecutions by Rudy Guiliani to the current
indictments, convictions, and investigation of Enron executives,
the seeming recent legal trend has been for federal prosecutors
to interpret some business activity in areas either loosely
regulated or where regulatory boundaries are fuzzy or sometimes
non-existent as being criminal in nature. The authors attempt
to determine whether the focus of prosecution on so-called white-collar
crime has changed from the way it was conducted in the past.
Their research finds that much of current white-collar prosecution
reflects a different interpretation of what is considered criminal
behavior in business activity and reflects an alternative path
of government regulation of business.