Obstructing justice : the federal government’s disuse of deferred prosecution agreements for non-corporate defendants
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Deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) are voluntary agreements between prosecutors and defendants in which the government agrees to suspend prosecution for a specified period of time while the defendant is monitored for compliance with certain conditions. Though Congress modeled the legislation authorizing federal use of DPAs on pretrial diversion programs targeting nonviolent, nonrecidivist drug offenders, the Department of Justice today uses DPAs almost exclusively for resolving corporate criminal liability. Given the federal government’s emphasis on remedying mass incarceration and the collateral consequences of criminal convictions, expanding the federal use of DPAs to the class of offenders and offenses for which such agreements were intended represents an unexplored opportunity for achieving meaningful criminal justice reform.