A busy spring for the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law

It’s been an eventful time for the Law School’s Center on the Administration of Criminal Law (CACL). On March 25 the center held its third annual conference; a book based on its first conference has just been published; Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cited a CACL amicus brief in a March 29 Supreme Court ruling; and last but not least, Neil Barofsky ’95, fresh from service as the Special Inspector General of the U.S. Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), became a CACL senior fellow on April 1.
Barofsky was one of two keynote speakers at the March 25 event, titled “Policing, Regulating and Prosecuting Corruption.” In his address, he discussed whether TARP had achieved its goals. When it came to rescuing the nation’s major banks and preventing a collapse of the financial system, he said, the program was a success. But its record in meeting a second objective--restoring lending and preserving home ownership--was “horrendous” -- points he reiterated in a New York Times op-ed a few days later. Anne Milgram ‘96, former attorney general of New Jersey and also now a CACL senior fellow, delivered the other keynote, in which she discussed structural challenges to prosecuting corrupt government officials, particularly at the state and local level. The event was co-sponsored by the Annual Survey of American Law Spring 2011 Symposium.
The new book, Prosecutors in the Boardroom: Using Criminal Law to Regulate Corporate Conduct, was edited by Professor Rachel Barkow, CACL’s faculty director, and Anthony Barkow, the center’s executive director. Drawing on presentations at CACL’s May 2009 conference, the book explores the controversial practice of some prosecutors to use the threat of criminal prosecution to regulate corporate behavior. NYU Law-affiliated contributors include both Barkows; Norma Z. Paige Professor of Law Jennifer Arlen; Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law Richard Epstein; and Samuel Buell ’92, a professor at Duke University School of Law.
The CACL drew notice in a Supreme Court dissent for the second time in its short history when Justice Ginsburg cited its amicus brief in Connick v. Thompson, decided by the Court on March 29. The case involved the question of whether a wrongly convicted defendant could sue a district attorney’s office for damages for failing to properly train its prosecutors on their Brady obligations, which require disclosure to defendants of exculpatory information that’s deemed “material.”  The CACL brief--and Justice Ginsburg’s opinion--argued in favor of liability in Connick, but, in a 5-4 ruling, the majority disagreed.

Posted on April 12, 2011.