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Ethics in Criminal Justice Thomas N. Davidson, J.D.


Ethics in Criminal Justice Thomas N. Davidson, J.D. Ideal Model A vision of law enforcement by which hard working police diligently handle each case on its merits. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ethics in Criminal Justice Thomas N. Davidson, J.D.

Ethics in Criminal Justice Thomas N. Davidson,
Ethics Defined
  • Ethics can be defined as a branch of philosophy
    that is concerned with the study of what is
    morally right and wrong, good and bad. The term
    comes from the Greek root ethikos, which means

Why study ethics?
  • Professionals are recognized in part because
    professions include ethical standards.
  • Develops analytical skills.
  • Consequences for ethical errors.
  • Germane to management decisions.

  • Become aware of ethical issues.
  • Develop critical thinking skills.
  • Become more personally responsible.
  • Understand how business is involved in coercion
    and persuasion.
  • Develop wholesight which means to explore
    issues with ones heart as well as ones mind.

Normative Ethics Normative ethics is the branch
of philosophical ethics that investigates the set
of questions that arise when we think about how
ought one acts morally speaking. These theories
determine which moral standards to follow which
actions are morally right or wrong.
Ethical Models
  • Deontological ethics or deontology (Greek Deon
    meaning obligation or duty) is a theory holding
    that decisions should be made solely or primarily
    by considering one's duties and the rights of
    others. If the act is good, then ethical even if
    bad outcome and vice versa.

Ethical Models
  • Consequentialism (Teleological Model) refers to
    those moral theories that hold that the
    consequences of a particular action form the
    basis for any valid moral judgment about that
    action. Thus, on a consequentialist account, a
    morally right action is an action which produces
    good consequences. The act may look bad, but if
    good result, then ethical.

Ethical Models
  • The Kantian-Utilitarian Principle emphasis doing
    the most good at the expense of the least amount
    of people. It recognizes that there may be a
    means to an end. But it is only ethical if as few
    people as possible are treated as means to the
    end that brings good the greater number.

Ethical Models
  • Egoism is belief that one ought to do what is in
    one's own self-interest, although a distinction
    should be made between what is really in one's
    self-interest and what is only apparently so.
    What is in one's self-interest may incidentally
    be detrimental to others, beneficial to others,
    or neutral in its effect.

Ethical Models
  • Altruism is an ethical doctrine that holds that
    individuals have an ethical obligation to help,
    serve, or benefit others, if necessary at the
    sacrifice of self interest.

Ethical Models
  • The ethic of reciprocity or "The Golden Rule" is
    a fundamental moral principle found in virtually
    all major religions and cultures, which simply
    means "treat others as you would like to be
    treated." It is arguably the most essential basis
    for the modern concept of human rights. Principal
    philosophers and religious figures have stated it
    in different ways.

The Golden Rule
  • "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge
    against the children of thy people, but thou
    shalt love thy neighbor as thyself I am the
    LORD." Moses (ca. 1525-1405 BCE) in the Torah
    Leviticus 1918
  • "This is the sum of duty do naught onto others
    what you would not have them do unto you." from
    the Mahabharata (51517) (ca. 500BCE)
  • "What you do not wish upon yourself, extend not
    to others." Confucius (ca. 551479 BCE)
  • "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow
    man." Hillel (ca. 50 BCE-10 CE)
  • "Do unto others as you would have them do unto
    you." Jesus (ca. 5 BCE33 CE) in the Gospels,
    Matthew 712, Luke 631, Luke 1025
  • "Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you."
    Muhammad (c. 571 632 CE) in The Farewell

Ethical Models
  • Religion conform to Gods will.
  • Codified Ethics formal written rules.
  • Natural Law what is good is that which is
    natural. Hierarchy Profession virtues, American
    virtues, and Human virtures.
  • Metaphysics Creator, human soul, supernatural.
  • Ethics of Care meet the needs of those
  • Ethics of Virtue conform to the Golden Mean.

Golden Mean
  • Area Defect Mean Excess
  • Fear Coward Courage Reckless
  • Pleasure Insensitive Control Indulgence
  • Money Stingy Generous Extravagant
  • Anger Apathy Gentle Hot-head
  • Truth self-dep. Truthful Boastful

  • Act or omission.
  • Cognitive Dissonance.
  • Rationalization that transforms the act or
    omission to being ethical.
  • Cognitive dissonance is a psychological term
    which describes the uncomfortable tension that
    comes from holding two conflicting thoughts at
    the same time.

  • I didnt get anything for it.
  • It wasnt illegal.
  • He made me do it.
  • He had it coming.
  • Everyone else is doing it.
  • If I didnt some one else would have.

Ethical Judgment Analysis
Free will
Effects to others
Act or Omission
Tort Ethical Analysis
Likelihood of Harm Gravity of Harm lt gt Cost
to reduce or eliminate the risk
Gravity of Harm or Good
  • Intensity strength of pain or pleasure.
  • Duration how long it lasts.
  • Certainty how sure we are of outcome.
  • Propinquity how soon the pain or pleasure
  • Fecundity probability the pain or pleasure will
    be followed by more pain or pleasure.
  • Purity probability the pain or pleasure will be
    followed by more of the same.
  • Extent the number of people effected.

Ethical Problem Solving
  • Consider
  • Benefit and harms caused by each alternative
  • Which alternative
  • Best respects moral rights.
  • Best promotes common good.
  • Does not discriminate or shows favoritism.
  • Best promotes virtues.

Things to consider
  • Relativism What is good or immoral changes over
  • Absolutism What is wrong is always wrong.
  • Situational Ethics. I choose which model of
    ethics to follow depending on the circumstances.

Key Terms
  • Reasoning a method of thinking by which proper
    conclusions are reached through abstract thought
  • The Divided Line Platos theory of knowledge. 4
    levels of knowledge. 1) lowest level is
    conjecture imagination 2) belief based on
    faith 3) scientific knowledge 4) the highest
    level is reasoning.

Key Terms
  • Theory of Realism Aristotles explanation of
    reality. 3 concepts Rationality, ability to use
    abstract reasoning potentiality actuality, the
    capacity to become a state of being and the
    golden mean, the middle point between extreme
  • Ethics Philosophy that examines principles of
    right and wrong.

Key Terms
  • Morality practice of applying ethical
  • Intrinsic goods objects, actions, or qualities
    that are valuable in themselves.
  • Non-intrinsic goods good only for developing or
    serving an intrinsic good.
  • Summum bonum principle of the highest good that
    cannot be subordinated to another.

Key Terms
  • EPJ2 guiding formula for making moral judgment.
    E is the ethical decision P is the principle
    J is the justification of the situation.
  • Determinism theory that all thoughts actions
    result from external forces beyond human control.
  • Intentionalism free will.

Key Terms
  • Mitigating (M) is to act in such a way as to
    cause an offense to seem less serious or the
    action of lessening in severity or intensity.
  • Accentuating (A) is the act of giving special
    importance or significance to something.

Exploring Virtue Socrates (469-399 B.C.)
  • Life unexamined is not worth living.
  • A belief unexamined is not worth following.
  • A practice unexamined is not worth adhering to.
  • Dialectic method exchange questions answers to
    establish or deny the truth of a matter.
  • Socratic method the same as dialectic method
    above renamed after Socrates.

Socratic Reasoning
  • What is it?
  • What is good for?
  • How do we know?
  • Establish the purpose of the phenomenon and
    determine its goodness by fulfilling its purpose.

Guiding Formula for Moral Judgment
  1. Select moral principle that best defines the
    problem honesty, fairness, equity, loyalty, et
  2. Justify the situation by examining whether it
    conforms to the selected principle. If not,
    accentuating or mitigating factors that make it
    more or less fitting?
  3. If situation fits exactly, then the judgment
    should be made exactly in accordance with the
  4. If it does not fit, judgment is made by
    determining a high or low likelihood that the
    situation fits the principle by examining the
    accentuating mitigating factors.

  • E is the ethical decision to be made.
  • P is the principle.
  • J is the justification of the situation.
  • Square on the value of J is proposed to allow for
    justification to be ratcheted up or down
    depending on the power of accentuating or
    mitigating factors.

EPJ2 put to the test.
  • E Death penalty.
  • P Sanctity of Life.
  • J Protect Society
  • Deterrence (A)
  • Retribution (A)
  • Extinguishes risk of escape and other transaction
    costs of incarceration. (A)
  • Killing is intrinsically evil even when done by
    the government. (M)

Rules of Moral Judgment
  1. Intrinsic evils are the lowest levels of morality
    and should be avoided.
  2. Intrinsic goodness is the highest level of
    goodness and should be sought.
  3. Summum bonum is the highest moral choice and
    should be sought.
  4. If intrinsic goodness cannot be achieved, the
    highest level of non-intrinsic goodness should be
  5. Whenever intrinsic evil can be avoided, the
    highest level of non-intrinsic evil should be
  6. When in doubt, apply EPJ2.

Christian Ethical Model
Three legged stool
  • Zeal for God riches, material goods, career
    goals are of lesser importance.
  • Purity honesty morality.
  • Accountability.
  • Humility.
  • Avoid abuses of Holiness legalism (rule
    keeping), judgmentalism (finger pointing),
    withdrawal (flight from responsibility).

  • Procedural Rights notice hearing for those
    accused of wrong doing.
  • Fairness adequate notice, hearing, and
  • Equal Protection people in similar
    circumstances are treated similarly.
  • Substantive Rights those rights that are
    spelled out and that which procedural rights seek
    to protect.
  • Merit cause and effect.
  • Contracts fulfill promises.
  • Compensation for those offended.
  • Beware of abuses of Justice Harshness

  • Emphasis on relationships.
  • Empathy not the same as sympathy.
  • Mercy empathy with legs.
  • Sacrifice of rights negotiation, consideration,
    and compromise.
  • Avoid abuses of Love doormat ambiguity.

Christian Model Balance Holiness, Justice,
Freedom from crime is not free.
  • The degree to which a society achieves public
    order depends in part on the price society is
    willing to pay to obtain it.
  • Resources committed to crime suppressions,
    detection, and prevention.
  • The extent to which people are willing to accept
    a reduction in civil liberties.

Government v. Liberty Tension
  • In a free society there is a constant tension
    between its governments legitimate police
    function and its citizens liberty interests. It
    has and will be with us and it will never go
    away. It is a source of conflict that must be
    understood by both the police and the population
    in order for it to be controlled.

Ethical Discretion
  • Depends on ones moral commitment to both society
    and the agency served.
  • Indianas Tort Claims act gives officers immunity
    from liability for using discretion as to whether
    to enforce or not enforce a law.
  • Special Relationship doctrine.

Indiana State Tort Claims Act IC 34-13-3
  • Notice of tort claim 270 days for state 180 days
    for political subdivision.
  • IC 34-13-3-3 Immunity of governmental entity or
    employee The performance of a discretionary
    function The adoption and enforcement of or
    failure to adopt or enforce a law, unless the act
    of enforcement constitutes false arrest or false
    imprisonment and an act or omission performed in
    good faith and without malice under the apparent
    authority of a statute which is invalid if the
    employee would not have been liable had the
    statute been valid.
  • The Act provides for 23 express instances of

Police Subculture
  • A cultural subgroup differentiated by status,
    ethnic background, residence, religion, or other
    factors that functionally unify the group and act
    collectively on each member.
  • The existence of a subculture suggests that
    officers share a number of attitudes, values, and
    beliefs that separate them from other members of
    society. These attitudes, values, and beliefs are
    transmitted from one generation to the next
    through a process of socialization.

More Key Terms
  • Principled-Based Management philosophy of
    management that is based on ethical principles,
    enlightened reasoning, moral responsibility,
    good faith.
  • Integrated Thinking Based on reasoning and
    deductive logic independent of bias or interest.
  • Moral Agility ability to distinguish between
    shades of moral choices.

Lying Deceptive Interrogation
  • The public does not have a constitutional right
    that the police will tell the truth.
  • Public Policy undercover officers.
  • Lying by the police during interrogation can be
    used as a factor to determine whether any
    statements were coerced.
  • Lying under oath, however, is a crime (perjury).

Lying Public Policy
  • Acceptable when innocent lives are at stake or
  • When a lie can help achieve a higher moral value,
    such as national secrets, helping a patient
    recover, or sustaining vital family relations.

Lying in Crisis Negotiations
  • What is the benefit to be gained by deceiving the
  • What is the likelihood the deception will be
  • What are the possible consequences if the
    deception is discovered?
  • If the deception is discovered, is there a way to
    recover from it?
  • Is there an alternative to deceiving the suspect?

Justification for Deception
  • Serves a legitimate purpose.
  • Nexus between lie and purpose.
  • Deception serves the public interest.
  • Does not violate law.

More Key Terms
  • Justifiable Inequality unequal treatment
    necessary to serve legitimate social or
    governmental interests.
  • Unjustifiable Inequality unequal treatment that
    does not serve a legitimate social or government
  • Discrimination injurious treatment of people on
    grounds irrelevant to situation.
  • Stereotyping automatically treating someone as
    an exact duplicate and assigning characteristics
    of a group to which he belongs.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
    prohibits the unequal treatment of persons based
    on race, color, national origin, religion,
    gender, age, or disability.
  • Disparate treatment. Prove that you
  • A member of a protected class and
  • Qualified and
  • Rejected, demoted, or terminated and
  • Position filled by a person not in a protected

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Disparate Impact Practices or procedures that
    are not intentionally discriminatory but have the
    effect of discrimination.
  • Four-Fifths Rule Minorities are hired or
    promoted at a rate less than fourth-fifths of the
    rate for the group with the highest rate of
    hiring or promoting.

Employees prima facie case
  • Belongs to a protected group
  • Was qualified for the job
  • Was rejected
  • Position remained open and search continued
  • Employer claims action was taken for legitimate
    nondiscriminatory reasons. Employee counters
    that the reasons are simply a pretext for

Police Profiling
  • The Gates case raised new and revived old
    questions regarding police profiling and factors
    that lead to articulable suspicion and probable

Egoism in CJS
  • Egoism the theory that people will naturally act
    only in fulfillment of their self interest (self
  • Authority the right to control others.
  • Power the means to control others.
  • The sum of these three factors often leads to
    abuse of power by police.

Official Responsibility
  • Antidote for natural egoism.
  • Responsibility for the cause of their actions.
  • Accountability for the manner in which duties are
    carried out.
  • Obligation to follow the law rules.

Internal Affairs Investigations
  • Founded.
  • Unfounded.
  • Exonerated.
  • Undetermined.

Tennessee v. Garner
  • Deadly force by police is justified
  • To protect/defend oneself or a third party from
    the threat of immanent serious bodily injury or
  • To interdict a forcible felony
  • To apprehend a fleeing forcible felon once less
    lethal means of capture have failed, and suspect
    will get away if you dont (provide a warning
    whenever possible.).

Use of Force Continuum
Capital Punishment
  • 16,272 murders reported to police in USA in 2008.
  • 37 executions carried out in 2008.
  • 111 convicted murders sentenced to death in 2008.
  • 3,215 inmates on death row in 2008.
  • 1977 to 2007 only 19 of 94 inmates given a death
    sentence in Indiana were executed (20).
    California 13 of 802 (1.6)

EPJ2 put to the test.
  • E Death penalty.
  • P Sanctity of Life.
  • J Protect Society
  • Deterrence (A) Really, is it?
  • Retribution (A)
  • Extinguishes risk of escape and other transaction
    costs of incarceration. (A)
  • Killing is intrinsically evil even when done by
    the government. (M)

IAC Law Enforcement Oath of Honor
  • On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my
    integrity, my character or the public trust. I
    will always have the courage to hold myself and
    others accountable for our actions. I will always
    uphold the constitution, my community, and the
    agency I serve.

Meaning of the Oath
  • Honor ones word is given as a guarantee.
  • Betray breaking faith.
  • Badge symbol of office.
  • Integrity adherence to a set of values.
  • Character individual qualities. . .

Meaning of the Oath
  • Courage having the strength to withstand
    unethical pressure, fear, or danger.
  • Accountability answerable and responsible.
  • Community Your jurisdiction.

More Key Terms
  • Malfeasance direct misconduct.
  • Misfeasance improper performance.
  • Nonfeasance failure to act or live up to
  • Grass Eaters takes what comes along.
  • Meat Eaters aggressively exploiting for gain.
  • Code of Silence conflicting loyalties causing
    officers not to report misconduct by other

Social Order
  • Secure and stable life within an orderly
    community. Focus is on social norms and legal

Moral Order
  • Collective concern for superior values within the
    realm of the spiritual. Focused on the
    principles of humanity, fairness, and
    righteousness, among other standards of civility.

Ideal Model
  • A vision of law enforcement by which hard working
    police diligently handle each case on its merits.

Serviceable Model
  • Bureaucratic garage sale model. CJS awash in
    arbitrary and irrational decision-making.
    Questionable motives for making arrests, deviance
    by police, railroading, revolving door practice
    of courts, and the failure of corrections.

Hedonistic Corruption
  • Practiced for personal gain or comfort.
  • Gratuities, bribery, thefts, and dishonesty.

Obligatory Corruption
  • Knowingly violating rules and regulations for
    egotistical purposes. Abuse of power and
    authority, crude, and self aggrandizement
    (increase ones power, influence, or status).

I want to help people
  • I have interview over 700 prospective police
    officers. When asked Why do you want to be a
    police officer? The answer is always some
    variation of I want to help people. These are
    sincere answers. How then do some of these young
    idealistic men and women become corrupt or brutal?

Possible Causes
  • Egoism.
  • The job does not live up to expectations, so the
    officers try to stimulate their professional
  • Disillusionment (public, courts, administration).
  • Greed.
  • Anti-social personalities (sociopaths).
  • Apologia.
  • Corrupt subculture.

What can be done?
  • Talk about ethics.
  • Search for the truth.
  • Demand ethical solutions.
  • Create an environment conducive to civility.
  • Dont laugh at unethical statements or jokes.
  • Reinforce ethical principles.
  • Monitor your commitment to justice.
  • Must be rendered first and foremost by you.
  • Modeling.