Holding Organized Crime Leaders Accountable for the Crimes of their Subordinates

Criminal Law and Philosophy 6 (2):207-225 (2012)
Abstract
Criminal law doctrine fails to provide an adequate solution for imputing responsibility to organized crime leaders for the offenses committed by their subordinates. This undesirable state of affairs is made possible because criminal organizations adopt complex organizational structures that leave their superiors beyond the reach of the law. These structures are characterized by features such as the isolation of the leadership from junior ranks, decentralized management, and mechanisms encouraging initiative from below. They are found in criminal organizations such as the American Mafia, the Japanese Yakuza, and even outlaw motorcycle gangs. The paper offers a doctrine that may transcend this shortcoming. Referred to as “leaders’ liability,” this doctrine will be assessed and appraised through a comparison with competing theories such as accomplice liability, Organisationsherrschaft , and conspiracy.
Keywords Organized crime  Criminal responsibility  Complicity
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