A offense is defined as “acts or skips that are in misdemeanor of law” ( West’s Encyclopedia of American Law. 1998 ) . The provinces and the federal authorities have enacted condemnable Torahs that define each of the offenses and prescribe punishments in instance of misdemeanor or committee ( West’s Encyclopedia of American Law. 1998 ) . The two elements of a condemnable discourtesy are: “actus reus and work forces rea ; one is physical and the other. mental state” ( West’s Encyclopedia of American Law. 1998 ) .
Therefore. “actus reus must be causally related to the work forces rea for a offense to occur” significance that the evil purpose of the head must co-occur with the physical manifestation through the improper act ( West’s Encyclopedia of American Law. 1998 ) . However. as an exclusion to this regulation. the tribunals have in a line of judicial case in points ruled that in instance of rigorous liability the individual who may non be “at mistake or negligent” shall be lawfully apt for amendss to the injured party.
The injured party will merely hold to turn out that he sustained amendss ( West’s Encyclopedia of American Law. 1998 ) . Furthermore. tribunals allowed liability on the footing of the actus reus entirely as being sufficient ( West’s Encyclopedia of American Law. 1998 ) . For case. the employer is deemed apt for amendss for the negligent Acts of the Apostless of his employees while in the public presentation of their responsibilities. Another illustration would be in the instance of merchandise liability where in the company is held apt for the hurt sustained by a client due to faulty merchandises.
Crimes may be committed by natural and juridical individuals. Natural individuals are human existences while juridical individuals are entities created by fiction of jurisprudence deemed to be persons capable of come ining into contracts. owning and or possessing belongingss. implementing rights and geting debts ( West’s Encyclopedia of American Law. 1998 ) . A corporation therefore is a individual. Corporations may be held apt for civil amendss for the Acts of the Apostless and behavior of the employees it employees.
This liability is known as vicarious liability ( West’s Encyclopedia of American Law. 1998 ) . Anent condemnable liability. a corporation is non capable of perpetrating a offense because it does non hold a head state–lacking in “mens rea. ” It is besides a legal fiction and hence. one can non set it behind bars. The recent old ages nevertheless. showed a different tendency from these statements. Nowadays. an American corporation engaged in condemnable activities such as fraud can be convicted when the condemnable behavior of its employee or officer is proven.
The federal authorities through the Deputy Attorney General cited the grounds for indicting corporations as being good to public involvements ( Thompson. 2003 ) . It “enables the authorities to turn to and be a force for positive alteration of corporate civilization. alter corporate behaviour. and prevent. discover. and punish white neckband crime” ( Thompson. 2003 ) . The federal authorities non merely prosecutes the corporation but besides the officers or agents of the corporations who seemingly are guilty and blameworthy.
Two recent instances may be cited to exemplify this point. The prosecution of Ebbers where his former finance officer testified against him. resulted in at least a sum of 85 old ages imprisonment consisting of “one count of confederacy. one count of securities fraud and seven counts of false regulative filings” ( Associated Press. 2005 ) . It was besides discovered that use on the books of accounting resulted in the sum of $ 11 billion ( Associated Press. 2005 ) .
In another instance. Reliant Energy Services. Inc. and four of its officers were reprehensively charged for “manipulation of the California energy markets” ( U. S. DOJ web site. 2004 ) . Therefore. when there is corruptness in a company. discourtesy for the jurisprudence. fails to see to it that internal mechanisms are in topographic point to observe fraud and corruptness and thenceforth fails to collaborate in the probe. the federal authorities vows to reprehensively prosecute the corporation ( U. S. DOJ web site. 2004 ) .
In both instances. the corporations involved were charged and prosecuted because of the pervasiveness of the misdemeanors such as when directed by upper direction or when in confederacy with the other officers of the corporation ( U. S. DOJ web site. 2004 ) . The regulation of respondeat superior shall use in instance the misdemeanor is an stray instance as when committed by a individual officer and with a conformity plan being implemented by the corporation.
The company can merely move through its agents and officers. therefore if an overpowering bulk have committed fraud or any condemnable act. so such act is considered the act of the corporation—the work forces rea being the mental province of the blameworthy officers and agents. This is penalized in conformity with the Sentencing Guidelines. In the two instances cited. the several companies are guilty of a felony because the charges were of serious nature with an imprisonment of more than one twelvemonth ( West’s Encyclopedia of American Law. 1998 ) . Corporate offense can be a misdemeanour or a felony depending on the punishment attached by jurisprudence for its committee.