Today, the University of Virginia School of Law launches 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. The goal of the Registry is to provide comprehensive and up-to-date information on federal organizational prosecutions in the United States, so that we can better understand how corporate prosecutions are brought and resolved.
Prosecutors, defence 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 myself. All of this data is also available for download as a spread sheet. All of the information contained on this Registry is publicly available. We gathered information, with the help of many talented research assistants over the years, from federal docket sheets, press releases, and prosecutor’s offices, as well as from FOIA requests. Our goal is to provide accurate, timely, and accessible information for policymakers, researchers and litigators alike.
This Registry was a long time in coming but it remains a work in progress. We will continue to update it and we hope to continue to improve it. Because the plea agreements on this Registry are primarily obtained through searches of federal docket sheets, these data are typically about six months out of day. We are currently still locating some additional 2016 guilty pleas finalized with organizations, although we are well into 2017. It is an on-going process. We hope you make use of and enjoy this new tool. We welcome your feedback as well; if you uncover errors or find cases that we should have included, or have suggestions for new functions that we could add—please let us know.
Brandon Garrett is Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law.