More than three years after the one of the worst financial crises in U.S. history, the government has been severely criticized for its failure to criminally prosecute senior executives at the Wall Street banks that helped cause the meltdown. Have the feds been soft on banking execs? Are laws on the books inadequate for holding people criminally accountable? Has the Department of Justice been too timid or too intimidated by the complexity of the potential misconduct? Or is it the case that actions of the individuals who caused the crisis were potentially reckless and immoral, but not unlawful? Does the lack of prosecutions reflect a weakness in our system of justice? Or does it demonstrate the strength of a system that has resisted the political pressure to scapegoat executives who may have committed no crimes?
A panel of senior criminal justice officials, including a former New York State Attorney General, a former United States Attorney, and the current head of the Department of Justice’s criminal division, takes on these questions and more.
Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice
Eliot Spitzer, Former Governor and Attorney General for the State of New York
Mary Jo White, Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP; Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York
Neil Barofsky, Senior Fellow, Center on the Administration of Criminal Law; Adjunct Professor, NYU School of Law
(My question comes up at the 57:15 minute mark)