Vicarious criminal liability for managers: how we got there

In Dotterweich v. U.S., a 1943 case that established a persistent and troublesome doctrine in criminal law, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that a pharmaceutical company manager could appropriately be convicted over the misdeeds of an underling without having to show that he knew of the violation, participated in it, intended it, or was negligent in failing to prevent it. My new Cato post summarizes new research by Craig Lerner on Dotterweich’s trial, in which the court seemed to struggle with the idea of imposing vicarious guilt without mens rea (a guilty state of mind). I also link to the chapter I wrote on white-collar prosecution in this year’s new edition of the Cato Handbook for Policymakers.

One Comment

  • Apparently this does not apply to government. Why?