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Faculty Workshop Series - Mihailis Diamantis

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Speaker: Mihailis Diamantis, University of Iowa, School of Law

Title: Clockwork Corporations: A Character Theory of Corporate Punishment

Abstract: Current approaches to corporate punishment are largely driven by deterrent or retributive impulses. Since the potential harms and private gains of corporate crime are so large, corporate punishment under these theories must be exacting . . . too exacting. It is difficult under current law to punish a corporation without killing it. Ironically, this fact leads to the under-punishment of corporations. Prosecutors—understandably hesitant to shutter some of the country’s largest economic engines—increasingly offer corporations deferred prosecution agreements in lieu of charges and trial. This Article considers corporate punishment for the first time from the framework of a third major theory of punishment—character theory. Character theories of punishment focus first and foremost on instilling good character and civic virtue. They have received comparatively little attention from criminal law scholars because they struggle in theory and practice when used to frame individual punishment. But the practical and moral problems character theories face in the individual context do not arise with the same force for corporations. In fact, character theory raises the possibility of punishing corporations in a way that preserves the social value they create while removing the structural defects that lead to criminal conduct. Along the way, the Article defends some heterodox proposals, including abolishing the corporate fine and that sentencing judges should also attend to the non-criminal aspects of a corporate defendants’ “character.”


The workshop will be held in the Philosophy department conference room, Room 204 New North Building. It will begin at 12:00 and continue until 1:30. Lunch will be served. All are welcome. Please inform the director of the institute, Michael Douma (, if you plan to attend.


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Friday, April 28, 2017 - 12:00pm
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