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Zombie Corporate Criminal List

April 22, 2014

Dallas News: Shunned like a zombie: federal bill to create corporate-crime database by Miles Moffeit is about proposed legislation to create a list of people who have been connected to corporate crime:

zombie miles moffeit

… the “Corporate Crime Database Act” has seen little semblance of life. Since Conyers introduced the bill in 2010, it has occupied that zombie state common to so many unpopular bills. They straddle the line between legislative life and death, starved of attention through procedural action or inaction.

Understanding specifically why the measure is shunned can be tricky. Silence too often surrounds zombie bills.

Moffeit’s use of the word here refers to the way this political idea (attributed to Congressman John Conyers, Democrat from Michigan, H.R.4452(113)) is a repeated proposal having not yet been made into law.

Another implication might be that since it is about making a list of people, who would presumably blacklisted as unfit for some types of employment, this “zombie bill” might also be said to create a list of zombies.

Philosophically, criminal law should criminalize acts not people. A bad act should be punishable, not bad people. So being found guilty of a crime should not label you a criminal, it should just make you guilty of that crime. The crime punished with the service of an appropriate sentence for that crime and then the person should return to a law-abiding life.

Instead we stigmatize people as criminals and impose long-term unpredictable collateral consequences that extend well beyond the terms of the sentence itself and then potentially hold back a person’s life, potentially forever. (zombies!)

We need to change the systemic incentives that inspire the malfeasance, but pity the individual zombie’s names.

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