by Brandon Garrett
Monday, the University of Virginia School of Law launched a newly revamped registry containing documents and data related to federal corporate prosecutions. The database, called the Corporate Prosecution Registry, allows researchers to view more than 3,000 decision documents, many of them previously hard to find or once shielded from the public eye, while also allowing them to better search specific subject matter and look at overall trends.
Prosecutors, defense lawyers, judges, policymakers and researchers who have long used this database can now rapidly pull detailed information about the specific types of corporate cases that they are interested in. More than 2,500 of the documents are corporate plea agreements, while most of the remainder are deferred or non-prosecution agreements. Researchers can, for example, select just agreements involving public companies, foreign companies, cases in certain years, with certain crimes, or with fines of a particular size.
The database is maintained by UVA Law Business and Empirical Research Librarian Jon Ashley and by law professor Brandon Garrett. In a number of cases, Ashley and the Law School had to use the Freedom of Information Act to acquire agreements that should have been made public.
Brandon L. Garrett is the Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law at University of Virginia School of Law. Garrett’s recent book examining corporate prosecutions, titled “Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations,” was published by Harvard University Press in Fall 2014.