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    10.11.17 Professor Miriam Baer Talks Amnesty in The New York Times

    In a New York Times UpShot column about what makes the idea of granting amnesty such a fraught topic, Professor Miriam Baer shared her expertise as a former federal prosecutor and scholar in the area of white collar crime.

    In the article, “The Word May Be Toxic, but Amnesty is Everywhere,” reporter Amanda Taub explained that amnesty already can be found in many places in the court system, from statutes of limitation to the ability to pay back taxes and forego a penalty.

    “In other words, if you define amnesty broadly, as a rule or discretionary decision that exempts certain people from the legal consequences of their wrongdoing, then the American legal system is amnesties all the way down,” Taub wrote.

    This is generally seen as a good thing by people who commit or are charged with crimes, but Baer addressed the benefits to the government as well.

    “It’s not a one-way street,” she said. “If drafted correctly, the government gets something, too.” Tax amnesties increase government revenue and save investigation and prosecution expenses, for example.

    Baer acknowledges that there are downsides to some kinds of amnesty, especially if they are set up in a way that encourages people to break the law in hopes of avoiding punishment, but she believes amnesties are useful more often than they are not.

    Read more:
    The Word May Be Toxic, but Amnesty Is Everywhere