Friday, July 18, 2008

Federal Erosion of Business Civil Liberties

The extent to which the Federal government has criminalized conduct is extra-ordinary. By 1900 there were 165 federal criminal laws. That number had increased to around 2000 by 1970. In 1998 the number had grown to 3,300 and by 2004 to more than 4000.

This is only part of the problem. The Code of Federal Regulations contains many regulations that can be criminally enforced. Estimates are that there are as many as 300,000 criminally enforceable regulations.

So for those of you out there who considered yourself a civil lawyer and only watched Perry Mason for entertainment, think again. You may be closer to being a criminal lawyer than you think.

But you respond, we always gave advice on matters that could result in criminal prosecution—violating various securities rules for example. How about those other 290,000 and 3500 regulations and statutes that posses the potential for criminal sanctions, do you know what they are? More importantly, would you even recognize them if you saw them? Chances are you are thinking no is the answer to both questions.

Perhaps what is even more of a concern, even if you happened to be aware of the potential for a criminal sanction could you confidently give advice to avoid a violation?
We will address that in the next in this series.

-Larry Salibra
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1 comment:

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