In the field of criminal defense, especially that of theft crimes, we find individuals facing prosecutions at an alarming rate. A question that many people wonder is why aren’t there more corporate prosecutions? Do the likes of companies such as “Enron” and “WorldCom” get somehow of a free pass while those charged with Retail Fraud (shoplifting) face continual prosecutions? To discuss this matter in greater detail, we spoke to 3 of the top criminal defense lawyers in the state of Michigan to gain their insight.
Scott Grabel is the founder of Grabel and Associates and is known to have the top criminal defense team across the state of Michigan. When asked about criminal prosecutions, Grabel stated, “We really do not see a lot of this and the reality is that when a corporation is facing criminal charges they tend to engage a big named civil defense firm which is confusing. It is almost as if the corporate defendants’ stay with firms that they work with as opposed to engaging a firm that specializes in criminal law. It can truly set the defendant up for failure.”
William Amadeo is a Partner for McManus and Amadeo in Washtenaw County and a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates in Ingham and Shiawassee County, Michigan. Amadeo, who is known as the top criminal defense lawyer in Washtenaw County added his insight when he said, “Different judges have different hotspots. Many times when dealing with theft there is a lot of confusion. Quite often, we see Presentence Investigation Reports that make the case seem far worse than it is. The reality is that where we stand in the criminal justice system, if you steal $1 million you get the benefit of the doubt but if you steal groceries from “Meijer” you face stiff prosecution. It’s a bizarre system that we need to fix. If you want to prosecute go after the true criminal, not the single mother trying to feed her family.”
Joe Brugnoli is a Senior Associate for Grabel and Associates and known as one of the top criminal defense lawyers in Kent County, Michigan. Brugnoli added his thoughts when he said, “More often than not, prosecuting attorneys view the corporate prosecution as too much work. In a case that Bill [Amadeo] and I worked on that relays to this topic, we saw more discovery than we have in our homicide cases. The system truly needs to reevaluate a lot of things as we proceed.
While the concept of corporate theft may be a foreign one, there are very few lawyers that have the experience in this genre. With many prosecutor offices dealing with a face of change, selection of criminal prosecution may also have a new outlook. It is be interesting to see the range of post Covid-19 prosecutions whenever that may occur.