Do The Sentencing Guidelines Matter Anymore?

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Recently we’ve seen more activity from the Department of Justice (Fraud Section) and other regulators both in the United States and internationally that address compliance and ethics program standards and effectiveness. One topic that’s come up informally in some conversations is whether the Sentencing Guidelines still hold a central role in defining “effectiveness” for a compliance program. Eric addresses these recent questions head-on. The Sentencing Guidelines have staying power — going back to 1991. And they still underpin most, if not all, of the standards and guidance we see not only from the Department of Justice in the USA, but also internationally. Eric talks also about how the US Sentencing Guidelines’ success hinges on their unique nature and design. While new guidance and standards build and adapt these base standards, the origin and basics remain the same. The Guidelines aren’t going away. Bottom line. Guidance from the USDOJ and other organizations have changed and been abandoned over time and as administrations change in particular. While the guidance from the Fraud Section is new and evolutionary, it is subject to change in a way the Sentencing Guidelines are not.

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