Is DOJ Using Too Many Deferred Prosecution Agreements?

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The Senate Judiciary Committee recently held confirmation hearings for Jim Cole, a partner at Bryan Cave and well known D.C. white-collar defense lawyer, who is President Obama’s nominee for deputy attorney general. During the confirmation hearings, an interesting back-and-forth occurred between Cole and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) regarding the use of deferred prosecution agreements.

Sen. Sessions first expressed his skepticism about the growing use by prosecutors of deferred prosecution agreements. Sen. Sessions noted that many corporations that are rife with fraud deserve to be charged and to suffer the consequences of their actions.

The below chart reflects recently released data by the GAO concerning the number of DPA/NPA’s for fiscal years 2001 through 2009. Although the data clearly demonstrates there has in fact been an increase in the number of DPAs, the GAO does not reach any conclusions as to the cause of the increase.

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