07/01/2014 02:41 pm ET Updated Aug 31, 2014

Unintended Consequences? Board of Directors Subject to Being Jailed for Corporate Criminal Actions?

This week's decision by the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby Stores case and its earlier decision in Citizens United that corporations have certain personal rights raises issues of what criminal penalties can be imposed. This is particularly important now that the Justice Department is imposing criminal penalties on corporations like BNP Paribus which violate the law.

While a corporation itself cannot be put in jail, if a corporation is similar to a person, as the Supreme Court has ruled, those who control its actions should be subject to being jailed if it violates the law. In short, under traditional American corporate law, if a corporation commits a criminal violation, all the members of the board of directors of that corporation are responsible and are subject to being jailed. After all, with rights comes responsibilities. That's the logical consequence of today's decision, but no one seems to have focused on it.