Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail
It took half a year and dozens of interviews with former prosecutors, defense lawyers, the falsely accused, and those who served time and resulted in two series in Forbes and the Corporate Counsel Business Journal. It is soon to be the source of multiple broadcasts and another comprehensive piece in a board magazine. This morning it is released as our newest eBook, Criminalizing the Boardroom: A Communications Guidebook for Prosecutorial Targets.
When you hear the stories of those unjustly accused, you wonder how they survive, emotionally at least, if not financially. It is one thing to prosecute those white-collar defendants with which there is a colorable claim. It is quite another to punish those under rules so opaque that something less than mens rea – the intention or knowledge of wrongdoing – must be the standard because no one understood where the goal line was in the first place.
The rule of law is what separates democracy from mob rule. But the clarion call for rule of law obscures a complicated truth. Within the rule of law are endless gray areas and the opportunity for misuse, as much by a bad acting CEO or nonfeasant board member as an overly ambitious prosecutor. The “rule of law” banner may make us feel superior to past civilizations, but it is the cookbook, not the feast. A lot gets confused in the cooking. We either apply it fairly or we are just as lost as repressive societies.
Read More: Criminalizing the Boardroom: A Communications Guidebook for Prosecutorial Targets.