Mon. Jan 24th, 2022


Corporate officers like Holmes need to be proven guilty, especially for intent, to convict them of crimes against the public, says Jacob T. Elberg, an associate professor of law at Seton Hall who tried healthcare fraud in the United States. Department. “The focus of our criminal justice system has been knowledge and intent and not just results,” he said, adding that this burden often poses a challenge for prosecutors seeking to hold corporate executives accountable.

This means prosecutors will focus on financial fraud in the Holmes case, Elberg said, instead of confused patients, because “there were clear, black and white lies that the system currently needs.” This is a troubling feature for those who see this trial as an opportunity to ultimately hold an founder accountable for the abuse of public trust.

When the verdict came down, Elizabeth Holmes documentary director Alex Gibbon Inventor, Said he was stunned and disappointed by the message it sent ৷ “When the film was made, the bright red line was the immorality of everything,” he told me over the phone. “They were putting patients at risk,” he said. “I wouldn’t be interested in telling this story if it was just about hodgepodge of high-net-worth people – he crossed a moral line.”

The trial did not end up with similar descriptive pressure. It may be foolish to think of courtroom ethics or even social responsibility. Of course, there are many lawyers – whether attorney generals or district attorneys or class-action experts – who are creative about how to legislate to punish opium manufacturers, fossil fuel companies, tobacco companies and gun manufacturers for the social harm they have done. Thinking. Caused but these individuals tend to use civil law, which does not carry the same requirements of intent as criminal law.

With technology companies, it is even more difficult to hold them criminally responsible for their social harm. To begin with, these companies are often popular with the public and challenge the allegations of loss by looking too far into the happy place they are taking us. They also benefit from being seen as passive-they’re not digging wells, they tell us, they’re just letting anti-wax people spray. The source of their misdeeds may be a mysterious algorithm that apparently manages itself. This is a convenient, technically possible separation from the decisions made on their platform. This may explain the feeling of helplessness of many of us towards the growing power of technology companies – it seems. Hunting around us, But no crime or perpetrator is ever associated with suffering.

To change this orientation – as carefully as we protect investors from the public – we need to rethink the behavior of corporations and their officials. We need to expand the powers of federal agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration, to conduct such in-depth investigations that could reveal the bad intentions of corporate officials. In addition, we can move the standard from criminal intent to simple evidence in this case, such as negligence, which Proposed in 2019 by Senator Elizabeth Warren As part of its Corporate Executive Accountability Act.

The purpose of these changes is not necessarily to fill prisons with more corporate executives like Holmes, but to keep them on notice: When you consider how to treat the public, act with the same respect for the law as you would for a large check from investors. When asked.


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