CASE STUDY

    
Case study
  
Ethical   dilemmas permeate the criminal justice system. At every level, in each   segment of the system, people are exercising discretion that will influence   the fate of an individual and/or the security of the community. Incongruous   laws, regulations, policies and practices create conflicts and distort the   basis upon which judgments are made. Very often these conflicts result in an   ethical dilemma. Which is the appropriate course of action? What is the   moral/ethical rational for the decisions that were made? What purposes or   principles are served? This project will ask you to consider a sequence of   decisions (do, or not do) all of which contribute, directly or indirectly to   the final scene. 
For each of the three (3)   scenarios, your assignment is to: 
 Examine   each situation and describe the ethical and/or moral question
 Describe   what you believe to be the motivation of the actor and the potential   consequences of BOTH/EACH option(s)
 Identify   the decision you believe the actor SHOULD make, and
 Provide   the ethical basis for your decision.
 Connect   the ethical basis for your decision to ethical theories introduced at the   beginning of the course and explain the rational for this connection.
 Each   decision must be considered separately and not be influenced by earlier   decisions and/or actions.
This project is an   opportunity for the student to demonstrate their understanding of ethics and   value-based decisions. Most of these situations do not have a single correct   answer. Grading is NOT based on solving the problem that is   presented to the actor but in identifying the ethical dilemmas and determining   and explaining the most ethical course of action. 
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1.   The Judge
Judge   Jeffery Owens is very troubled by the felony case before him.  The   defendant, Woodrow Wilson, had been found guilty of armed robbery of a liquor   store.  The case alleged that Wilson had a handgun in plain sight when   he entered the Sin-Yon liquor store, that he hit the owner in the head with   the weapon and forced him to open the cash drawer. Fleeing the scene on foot,   Woodrow only got a few blocks before responding police officers spotted him   and made the arrest. The prosecutor, armed with the recovered cash, video   surveillance and an eyewitness as evidence had an easy case. Now it is time   for sentencing. 
Judge   Owens saw the demonstration of business owners in the hallway when he entered   the courthouse that morning. They were chanting “Justice for our victims” and   were demanding a lengthy prison sentence. The Pre-Sentence Investigation   report said Wilson was suffering from acute addiction and associated mental   problems that had caused these violent (but not criminal) outbreaks in the   past. There is no information in the file that Wilson has ever received   treatment for his disorders. Jeffery knows that, due to budget cuts, the   state prison system has very little in the way of addictive or behavioral   disorder treatment programs. The prisons had reverted to merely warehousing   inmates. However, he had read that the county jail had received a federal   grant to establish exactly the kind of services that it appeared Wilson   needed. Obviously, he had no way of knowing if this or any treatment would be   successful for Wilson. 
Sentencing   guidelines were established to ensure that defendants convicted of similar   offenses received similar punishments. According to the sentencing guidelines,   Wilson should be sentenced to 5-7 years in the state correctional prison   system. Jeffery knows that the business community was calling for the maximum   sentence. The county jail only took inmates sentenced to eighteen months   or less. What sentence should Judge Owens impose on Mr. Wilson?  
2.   The District Attorney
Jessica   ran a successful campaign for district attorney on a very conservative   platform generally critical of the incumbent’s inability or unwillingness to   prosecute police misconduct with criminal charges. The city’s police   chief did not support her campaign. He felt that administrative actions that   could result is fines, suspensions, demotion or termination of employment   were sufficient punishment. Additionally, victims could sue an officer   in civil court if the officer acted outside the scope of their authority   and immunity.  The chief felt that these consequences should be   sufficient for any police misconduct except, perhaps, a felony. Since her   election, Jessica has brought criminal charges of larceny against one officer   for switching city tires off his patrol car onto his personal car. She also   brought assault charges against an officer when she learned a suspect needed   medical treatment for wrist abrasions due to her handcuffs being too tight.   Recently several assistants have cautioned her that they are losing criminal   cases, including serious felony cases, because police officers are either not   appearing to testify at court or are having “difficulty   remembering” critical details during their testimony. This started in   traffic court but has also occurred in misdemeanor trials as well. The   feeling is these officers are retaliating against the district attorney’s   officer for the criminal charges being brought against members of the police   force.  The pattern is quite clear and getting worse. Prosecutors are   complaining that police detectives are “too busy” to return their calls.   Jessica understands she cannot successfully prosecute criminal cases without   the cooperation of the police department. At the same time, she feels as   though she is being bullied by an overly protective autocratic police chief.   She feels she can and should prosecute police officers for any   criminal offense …and feels that her election demonstrated that the community   agrees with her. What should Jessica do?
3.   The Officer
Scott   is still on probation as a police department rookie. While on probation he   can be dismissed at any time for any reason and would not be entitled to a   trial board or hearing prior to dismissal.  
During   the course of his patrol duties, Scott has cause to stop a car for a   legitimate but minor traffic violation. The motorist was highly agitated at   being stopped “for no reason” and, using a variety of obscene references and   racial slurs, adamantly expressed how upset he was. Agitated, Scott told the   man to exit the vehicle and place his hands on the hood of his car. Scott   looked through the car interior, and then took the keys out of the ignition   to open the trunk. Seeing what Scott was doing, the driver told Scott to stop   and that he could absolutely not search the trunk of the car.  Ignoring   this, Scott opened the trunk and discovered in plain view a large, clear   plastic bag containing thousands of pharmaceutical-type capsules. Scott could   hear the driver screaming, “That ain’t mine. That ain’t mine.”  Scott   suddenly realized he has committed an illegal search. What should Scott do?
Format Requirements
 A minimum   of 10 full narrative text pages
 Double   spaced
 12 pt.   font
 1”   margins
 Use   American Psychological Association (APA) citation format for all   narrative and Reference Page sources
 Reference   Page is not included in the word count
NOTE: For a formal paper, an   introduction paragraph and a closing paragraph are always appropriate. 
Additionally – Create   a cover page for your assignment (not included in word count)
 Include   your name
 Course   title and number
 Project   title
 Date of   submission

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