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Criminal Law


4th Amendment

protects citizens and businesses against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government

5th Amendment

provides the right to due process and protection from double jeopardy

6th Amendment

constitutional amendment that guarantees criminal defendants the right to a public and speedy trial, help from counsel, an impartial jury, the ability to confront accusers, and knowledge of the nature of the charges

Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act

federal statute that regulates spam, which is commercial e-mail or unsolicited bulk e-mail that the receiver did not ask for

corporate personhood

states that a corporation has some of the same legal rights and responsibilities as people


when the court imposes a specific punishment with the intention of discouraging future crime

Economic Espionage Act of 1996 (EEA)

statute making the stealing of trade secrets a federal crime punishable by imprisonment of business executives and fines up to $10 million for business organizations


fraudulent conversion of property that is in the perpetrator's possession

False Claims Act

federal statute that allows private citizens to sue employers on behalf of the government for fraud against the government

Federal Sentencing Guidelines

advisory rules that judges typically follow when sentencing defendants convicted of federal crimes


most serious type of criminal offense; punishable by the harshest penalties, including incarceration, life in prison, and death

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA)

federal statute that prohibits the bribery of foreign officials


when a person deliberately deceives another person to obtain money or property and that other person is injured by the deception


protects the public from the defendant and is achieved by house arrest, incarceration, or the death penalty


least serious form of crime; typically punishable by a fine


court order that compels a party to rectify a legal issue or refrain from a specific act that threatened or invaded the legal right of another

insider trading

illegal use of material, nonpublic information to trade on the stock exchange for one's own benefit


criminal offense that carries the possibility of up to one year of incarceration

money laundering

when money from criminal activity is made to look as if it were gained legitimately

procedural due process

procedure that requires notice and an opportunity to be heard when the government denies life, liberty, or a property interest

prosecution agreement

agreement to dismiss a case instead of bringing it to trial, as long as the accused person or company meets certain conditions

Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act

federal statute forbidding persons associated with an organization from engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity, such as organized crime and mail fraud


action taken to transform a defendant into a valuable member of society


form of punishment used to correct an injury that the defendant inflicted on the victim; penalizes the defendant financially


balancing of the scales of justice; intended to punish the defendant in a way equal to the crime committed

Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX)

rules for corporate accounting, government oversight, and financial regulations; allows investors to receive more accurate and complete financial information

substantive due process

process that prohibits the government from interfering with fundamental constitutional rights and requires that laws be fair

trade secret

process, product, method of operation, or compilation of information that is unknown to the public and may give an organization a competitive advantage

white-collar crime

nonviolent crime committed in a commercial context by a professional or manager for financial gain

White-Collar Crime Penalty Enhancement Act of 2002 (WCCPA)

federal statute that implements stronger penalties through the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to remove the disproportion between white-collar crime and street crime sentencing