Criminal liability for businesses and business owners

As you know, businesses and their owners can be charged with crimes, even though it may be difficult to determine exactly who is at fault. Read this brief article from HG.org on this topic.

Next, please read a summary of one of the leading cases on the subject of criminal liability for businesses and business owners is U.S. vs. Park, heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. Or, read the case in its entirety if you wish.

Don’t be thrown by the fact that it is a 1975 opinion as it is still good law, has been referenced in subsequent cases, and has never been overturned.

Do you agree with the majority (the ruling) or the minority (the dissenting opinion) as to the liability of the CEO under the facts presented, and why? Please explain in a paragraph or two.

The US v. Park case of 1975 that was determined by the Supreme Court entailed the defendants who were a food company, Acme Markets, Inc. and its CEO charged with engaging in food interstate commerce, which involved products that were rodent-infested. The case against the defendant was in violation of the 301 (k) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (Act). The legal standings suggest that the CEO is accountable for the abuse of the law that are committed by their company, which he or she had the capability to prevent before it occurred or correct after the situation has been noticed. In the case, Acme Markets, Inc. the Court was served with evidence that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had in 1970 served the company with a letter that informed of the unsanitary conditions at the company’s warehouse in Philadelphia. Despite this, there was no significant effort to correct the situation years later. From this perspective, the company and the CEO were in violation of the law, and my argument is in support of the ruling made.

According to Ciaccio (1993), enterprises in all industries constitute a particular source of crime victimization. Subsequently, the business patrons are often faced with challenges of being charged with criminal cases. The Court and the Law have been instrumental in ensuring that business owners take precautionary measures against legal violations and in protecting the consumer. Fundamentally, the Law provides that companies are deterred from socially unacceptable behaviors. Additionally, Martin, Bates, and Mcmyne (2015) states that businesses owners have the legal responsibility of ensuring that consumers are protected from third-party criminal conduct. The authors report that in the past, businesses often broke the chain of causation to avoid criminal liability by extending the blame to other people in the supply chain or with the organization. The case of US v. Park demonstrates a shift in paradigm that puts managers and owners in the sport of violations by their companies. A review of the case by the Criminal Law Commons, Criminology Commons, and the Criminology and Criminal Justice Commons (1976) shows that the decisions of the case show that corporate agents can be held criminally liable for their failure to exercise their authority and responsibility. There is no doubt that these obligations are imposed on managers and leaders by the organization and the failure or the organization is certainly expected to be their fault…


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