Punishing Organized Crime Leaders for the Crimes of their Subordinates

Criminal Law and Philosophy 4 (2):183-196 (2010)
The intuition holding that an organized crime leader should be punished more severely than a subordinate who directly commits an offence is commonly reflected in legal literature. However, positing a direct relationship between the severity of punishment and the level of seniority within an organizational hierarchy represents a departure from a more general idea found in much of the substantive criminal law writings: that the severity of punishment increases the closer the proximity to the physical commission of the offence. This paper presents an analysis of the said intuition and attempts to ascertain its roots. Rejecting both retribution and deterrence theory as valid explanations, it will be inferred that the imposition of harsher punishment on organized crime leaders is properly based on the multiplicity of offences for which they are responsible, and not the nature of their involvement in any specific offence.
Keywords Organized crime  Criminal responsibility  Punishment  Retribution  Deterrence
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DOI 10.1007/s11572-010-9089-2
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