U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell and U. S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. will participate in a day-long legal forum analyzing the role of prosecutors in "regulating" the practices of businesses and public agencies charged with wrongdoing. Organized by New York University's School of Law, the four-part forum will be held on Friday, May 8, 2009, at the law school's New York City campus.
The other participants include highly-respected legal scholars and professors, former prosecutors and former officials with the Justice Department, as well as lawyers specializing in white-collar defense.
Congressman Pascrell and Congressman Pallone are sponsors of legislation that would establish practices and procedures for the use of deferred prosecution agreements and non-prosecution agreements as alternatives to criminal prosecutions. The use of DPA's and NPA's has proliferated in recent years as replacements for criminal prosecutions but, with the absence of rules and standards, they've been utilized in inconsistent ways with little or no accountability. Some have generated allegations of political and financial abuse.
"This NYU forum demonstrates a commitment from the legal community to truly review a corporate prosecution agreement process that has lacked transparency or any stringent guidelines," stated Pascrell. "I look forward to discussing our reform proposal in Congress with experienced prosecutors and some of the foremost thinkers in the legal community."
Pascrell and Pallone will speak at the session on "Monitoring and Compliance Oversight," which will explore the use of "monitors," outside parties selected to oversee compliance of the DPA's and NPA's. The selection of politically-connected monitors for the lucrative contracts sparked controversy, as well as the interest of Congress and now the legal community.
"This is an important issue that is being taken seriously by a broad cross-section of the legal community," said Pallone. "The questions they are exploring at this forum include many of the same questions we have been asking."