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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 134789 Find in a Library
Title: Sentencing the Business Offender
Journal: Howard Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:30  Issue:4  Dated:(November 1991)  Pages:280-292
Author(s): H Croall
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 13
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This study examines how one group of business offenders was sentenced in Great Britain, based on an analysis of sentencing for "crimes against the consumer."
Abstract: All of the cases reviewed involved charges under the Trade Descriptions Weights and Measures and Food and Drugs legislation. These offenses are typical of much business regulatory crime, in that although offenses are often portrayed as "not really crime," many involve elements of dishonesty and negligence. Offenders constitute a diverse group that includes large multinational corporations, secondhand car dealers, and market traders. At the time of this research, the maximum penalty for all offenses considered in this study, with the exception of food and drugs offenses, was a fine of 1,000 pounds Sterling or 6 months imprisonment. Data cover the number of convictions and average fines for cases resolved in 1981-87. The study concludes that both offense seriousness and offender culpability were important factors in sentencing, but their effect was influenced by the sparseness of relevant information on the harm caused by an offense and the ability of defendants to neutralize blameworthiness. The socioeconomic status of offenders may be less significant in the mitigation of sentencing harshness than the general appeal of defendants to business values that governed their behavior. The apparent leniency of sentences arises in large measure from the ambiguous criminal status of offenses. Offenses whose harm to consumers is readily apparent, however, are not as susceptible to mitigation based on business values. 2 tables, 2 notes, and 33 references
Main Term(s): Consumer protection laws; White collar crime
Index Term(s): England; Foreign courts; Sentencing factors
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