Case Detail

DeCoster v. United States
On February 9, 2017, WLF asked the Supreme Court to review (and ultimately overturn) a decision by a divided panel of the Eighth Circuit upholding a term of imprisonment on two executives of Quality Egg LLC under the “responsible corporate officer” (RCO) doctrine—a rare instance of strict supervisory liability in the criminal law. In a brief filed in the case, WLF argued that although the Supreme Court has permitted the imposition of strict criminal liability in the absence of mens rea in the narrow category of public welfare offenses, it has done so only with the understanding that penalties imposed in such cases will be relatively small and the conviction will not gravely damage defendant’s reputation. The appeals court’s ruling in this case, WLF contended, expands such strict supervisory liability far beyond the constitutional bounds the Supreme Court first articulated when adopting the RCO doctrine over 70 years ago.
Case Status:
Awaiting decision.
More Information and Downloads:
7/27/2015: Download the Brief
2/9/2017: Download the Brief
ProfessorBainbridge.com:  Has the Responsible Corporate Officer Doctrine run amok? 
Press Release: WLF Asks Federal Appeals Court to Rein In “Responsible Corporate Officer” Doctrine
Press Release: WLF Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Rein In “Responsible Corporate Officer” Doctrine
  • Welcome to the Washington Legal Foundation
  • 2009 Massachusetts Ave., NW
    Washington, DC 20036
  • info@wlf.org  |  ph. 202-588-0302
    ©2017 WLF All Rights Reserved