Feature Story

Why is it so hard to stop corporate crime?

In the eight years since the collapse of the mortgage-backed securities market precipitated the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, authorities have gone after business misconduct with unprecedented vigor. But despite public pressure and ever-expanding tools and powers to go after corporate wrongdoing, in most cases, the company pays a large fine and promises to clean up its act while top executives escape punishment.

Duke Law Magazine, "The endless cycle of corporate crime and why it’s so hard to stop "

News Highlights
  • Ben GrunwaldScholar of criminal law, procedure, and criminology joins governing faculty

    Ben Grunwald, a scholar of criminal law, criminal procedure, and criminology, joined the governing faculty on July 1 as an assistant professor of law. He came to Duke Law from the University of Chicago Law School. Grunwald, who received a BA in philosophy and sociology, an AM in statistics, a JD, and a PhD in criminology from the University of Pennsylvania, applies doctrinal analysis and empirical methods to evaluate rules of criminal procedure, often challenging prevailing assumptions about how those rules operate. 

  • President Barack Obama signing new legislationCommunity pro bono effort leads to commutations for low-level drug offenders

    A team of Duke Law students, faculty, and staff recently helped three federal inmates gain commutations of their lengthy sentences for low-level, non-violent drug offenses. Supervised by Associate Clinical Professor Jamie Lau ’09, they prepared and filed petitions on behalf of five inmates, three of which were granted by the former president before he left office. 

  • Professor James CoxPodcast: Cox discusses high-profile securities fraud retrial

    Professor James Cox discusses the trial of former Jefferies LLC managing director Jesse Litvak, and the arguments of Litvak’s counsel in the mortgage bond fraud case.

  • Professor James ColemanColeman on Kalvin Michael Smith release: "We’re going to keep at it until we exonerate him"

    Kalvin Michael Smith, a longtime client of Duke Law School’s Wrongful Convictions Clinic, was released from in Forsyth County Correction Center Nov. 9 after 19 years of incarceration. Clinic co-director James Coleman called Smith’s release a partial victory, telling reporters and Smith supporters that work on Smith's case would continue until he was fully exonerated.

  • Samuel BuellNew Buell book explains shortcomings in white-collar criminal justice

    In Prof. Samuel Buell's latest book, Capital Offenses: Business Crime and Punishment in America's Corporate Age, he explains shortcomings in white-collar criminal justice. "The sheer size and complexity of many modern companies allows top managers, nominally employees of those shareholders, to maintain that whatever criminality may have transpired in the trenches escaped their notice."

  • Professor Lisa Kern GriffinGriffin discusses racial bias and jury trials

    Griffin discusses how courts should treat racial bias exhibited by jurors during trial deliberations in a podcast focused on Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado, which was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in October.

Center for Criminal Justice & Professional Responsibility

Brains on Trial with Alan Alda - logoThe Duke Center for Criminal Justice and Professional Responsibility is devoted to the promotion of justice in criminal cases and to teaching and training students, lawyers, prosecutors, judges, and the general public to identify, remedy, and prevent the wrongful conviction of innocent people.

Learn more about the center


  • Nita A. Farahany
    Professor of Law, Professor of Philosophy

    Farahany is a leading scholar on the ethical, legal, and social implications of biosciences and emerging technologies, particularly those related to neuroscience and behavioral genetics. She is the Director of Duke Science & Society, the Duke MA in Bioethics & Science Policy, and a Professor of Law & Philosophy.