Table of Contents
- Reasons Why Police Corruption Is Difficult to Control (Question 1)
- Theories Explaining Racial Discrimination in the American Criminal Justice System (Question 2)
- Arguments in Favor of Defense Attorneys Defending Clients Whom They Know Are Guilty (Question 3)
- Difference between Retribution and Revenge (Question 4)
- Ethical Problems Related to War/ Military Approach to Terrorism (Question 5)
- Related Law essays
Reasons Why Police Corruption Is Difficult to Control (Question 1)
Police corruption is among the top challenges that police departments face today. It has become common for police officers to use their power for personal gain. Thus, it can be stated that police corruption has become a difficult factor to control due to a number of reasons highlighted in current section. Present essay explicates four reasons why police corruption is difficult to control and presents relevant strategies to overcome each condition.
Firstly, according to Stinson et al. (2013), one of the reasons why police corruption has become difficult to control is due to the use of inefficient methods of assessing potential officers during recruitment. Many police departments lack the adequate procedures to perform background checks on recruits or psychological tests that accurately measure the suitability of recruits for police work. There is also an issue of using impartial administered training that evokes very little sense of integrity in the officers. It has made it difficult and almost impossible to control police corruption as most of the corrupt officers develop such tendency from the beginning of their careers in law enforcement. Bayley and Perito (2011) provide an example of how lenient recruitment procedures allowed a woman with murderous instinct become the police officer. The woman, Antoinette Frank, did not receive proper psychiatric evaluation, thus, her instinct was unnoticed. The result was disastrous as she robbed a restaurant and killed a security guard. Such example proves that there is a need to eliminate the factor of corruption in the police force. Punch (2009) suggests that one strategy that could be used to solve the problem is to improve and strengthen recruitment procedures applied in police departments. Comprehensive background checks and thorough psychiatric tests should be conducted to determine the suitability of the recruits for police work.
Another reason why police corruption has become difficult to control is due to the desire by senior officers to insulate themselves and their departments from scandal. Stinson et al. (2013) affirm that it has become a priority over fighting the menace of police corruption in many police departments. Thus, many police department heads often ignore the wrong doings of their officers. The fear of a scandal has caused the internal affairs division (IAD) of many police departments to close the investigations prematurely. A good example of such case is given by the case of Ferguson’s shooting of Michael Brown where the police departments of Ferguson and Missouri have been accused of trying to obstruct justice by hiding evidentiary information from investigators in an attempt of hiding wrong doing in their departments and avoiding a scandal. In this case, Punch (2009) suggests the need to strengthen the police leadership to show more commitment to anti-corruptions policies as one strategy that can be applied to overcome it. Further there should be more administrative control. It will be essential in changing the department environment towards an emphasizing an anti-corruption stance.
Stinson et al. (2013) observe that the war on drugs has become very difficult to control and thus has equally made it difficult to control police corruption. Firstly, the explosive drug business has provided police officers with an opportunity to earn money very easily, fast and undetected. Secondly, there is constant temptation for police officers in the war against drugs. For instance, it is very common for the police to enter into a drug den and find a large amount of money in such dens. It is very difficult to overcome the temptation of taking such money even if it means just a portion of it. A good example of it is given by the case of Michael Dowd, a police officer who has been corrupt since the age of 23 when he entered the police force. His corrupt affairs started when he stopped a teenager and took money from him. With time, he started protecting drug dealers. A strategy that can be enforced to overcome such trend is to increase the emphasis on the need to fight the corruption. Further, police reward and remuneration systems should be upgraded to provide more attractive payment terms, in order to reduce the temptation of taking drug money.
A fourth reason why controlling police corruption has become difficult to overcome is the deficiencies in the law. According to Punch (2009), current police culture that promotes corruption receives much support from laws sanctioning a code of silence and requirements of unusually high proof for convictions to be performed on corrupt police officers. For this reason, many departments have found it difficult to dismiss or punish wrong doers. Such flow in the law is made apparent by the example of the police privacy law that keeps the public unaware of various police misconducts. An effective strategy that can be used to solve such problem is to implement systems that will ensure that the law applies to all people whether they are civilian or not.
In conclusion, considering the information on the extent of police corruption, it is imperative that every police department finds an effective strategy to employ in order to overcome the problem.
Theories Explaining Racial Discrimination in the American Criminal Justice System (Question 2)
The American criminal justice system is negatively influenced by the examples of racial discrimination. In the acting criminal justice system of the US, it has been concluded that people of color tend to be punished more aggressively compared to their white counterparts. Despite the fact that such topic is politically controversial in many ways, the truth cannot be denied. Scholars have developed theories meant to explain why such racial discrimination exists in the American criminal justice system. The two of such theories used to explain the current racial discrimination in the American criminal justice system are biological and sociological theories of crime as suggested by Hearn (2010). Current essay explicates theories that explain racial discrimination in the American justice system.
The biological theory provides useful information on how people behave and to some extent can be used to explain why racial discrimination takes place in the American criminal justice system. It is caused by the fact that the theory can be used to study and determine the criminal tendency of people. Accordingly, biological features can be used to distinguish criminals and non-criminals. In this case, the theory is applied to distinguish individuals as criminal or non-criminals on the basis of their skin color. It has been the major contributor of discrimination in the criminal justice system as it has led to racial profiling. The consequence of it is that the colored community in America, including blacks, Latinos, and Hispanics, is believed to be criminals just due to the color of their skin. As a consequence, they are given poor treatment throughout the criminal justice system as shown in the following incidents identified by Quigley (2010). Firstly, the police stop the blacks and Latinos at a higher rate than the whites. This includes the fact that blacks are more likely to be stopped than whites. Secondly, once they have been arrested, the blacks are more likely to remain in prison to await trial compared to the whites. It shows how racial discrimination in the justice system has spread to felony processing. Thirdly, individuals who are African Americans are less likely to be selected for jury duty. A final example of racial discrimination in the justice system is that a large number of individuals with longer sentences are not white. All the above-provided examples of racial discrimination in the American justice system are explained by the biological theory where the non-white races are believed to be more likely to have criminal tendencies than the whites, resulting in discrimination.
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The sociological theory of crime can also be used to explain why there is so much racial discrimination in the criminal justice system of America. According to the theory, society creates conditions within which a person commits crimes. Further, the theory states that people are not actually born criminals and it is the environment they live in that influences them to develop criminal behavior. For instance, Hearn (2010) explains that the non-white community that consists of Blacks, Latinos, and Hispanics in America is usually found in poor and overcrowded areas. There is a large rate of unemployment, undereducated people, poor health, and social problems in such areas. Thus, in many instances they turn to a life of crime in order to cope with their problems. Therefore, when someone of them is noticed in more affluent communities, he is more likely to be stopped by police officers and even suspected of having an intention of committing a crime.
In conclusion, it has to be noted that racial discrimination against the colored people by the American criminal justice system will continue in instances mentioned in the examples given in the biological theory. Both theories have outlined a number of stereotypic behaviors against non-white persons, which has affected their chance of receiving justice.
Arguments in Favor of Defense Attorneys Defending Clients Whom They Know Are Guilty (Question 3)
The question that many defense attorneys face most of the time is why they would defend people who they know are guilty. Defense attorneys have their own reasons why they choose to do so. However, there are some common arguments that they all share in their defense for defending guilty individuals. Current essay highlights relevant arguments in favor of attorneys defending guilty clients.
One of the arguments in favor of attorneys defending clients they know are guilty is to protect the system from interference by the government so that in the long run the innocent man is not imprisoned just because the government says so. Kindley (2009) affirms that it is meant to ensure that the proper trial procedure is followed, whereby the prosecution provides evidence that will prove their client’s guilt beyond any doubt. If the procedure is not followed, then even the innocent men will not be able to defend themselves when the government, society, and the entire criminal justice system perceive them as guilty.
Another argument in favor of defense attorneys is that they believe that every person has a right under the constitution to receive a fair trial even if they are guilty. According to DuBose (2012), without a fair trial that provides the accused with a clear, resourceful, and motivated attorney, there cannot be a legal form of guilt. Thus, without the state remaining committed to providing a defendant with a fair trial even the jury findings of guilt cannot be said to have any legitimacy. Defense lawyers argue that there is a big problem of inadequate indigent defense. Further, there is much inequality within the justice system. They continue affirming that defending someone does not necessarily mean that they will be set free and thus not pay for their crimes. Therefore, there is a need for some form of buffer and defense for the defendant even if he/she is guilty. For this reason, by not establishing a fair trial for all there will be no possibility to stop the prosecution from acting inadequate in their persistence to convict a person.
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Defense lawyers also justify their action of defending people who they know are guilty by arguing that their work is not to determine their client’s guilt or impose their sensibility and morality, but rather to provide them with a defense. Kindley (2009) asserts that it is the duty of the court to determine the client’s guilt and the duty of the prosecution to provide the necessary information that will prove such guilt. Consequently, according to the defense attorneys their duty is to fervently defend their clients within the limits of the law and not to seek justice as it is a mandate of the prosecution. In such case, the guilt of their clients is not relevant.
In conclusion, people continue treating the defense attorneys defending individuals who they know are guilty with prejudices. It is a highly contentious ethical issue. However, it is imperative to agree with some of the reasons given by the defense attorneys to explain their actions, since every person deserves fair treatment as he/she seeks for justice.
Difference between Retribution and Revenge (Question 4)
There is a close connection between the terms retribution and revenge. Flanders (2010) agrees that both terms are forms of payback only differing on the reason for it. Therefore, it is not surprising that they tend to be used interchangeably. However, there is a significance difference between them. The difference highly depends on the law, meaning what is acceptable by it and what is not acceptable. Current essay differences between retribution and revenge.
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Retribution is considered as an ambiguous terms by many people. According to Gerber and Jackson (2013), a simple definition of the term is that it is a form of punishment that is authorized by the law. Such punishment is usually applied to people when they have committed criminal acts and are judged in relation to the seriousness of the criminal acts committed. Gerber and Jackson (2013) further provide a more comprehensive definition of retribution as a type of punishment that is enforced by the state or the appropriate judicial body where the two seek to repay offenders by subjecting them to an experience considered to be proportionate to the criminal act they have committed. It seeks to punish the person who has committed a crime in an effort to rehabilitate them. In retribution, a punishment is justifiable because it is deserved. Moreover, there is a link between the form of punishment exacted and guilt. As a consequence, retribution tends to be perceived as a question of responsibility and accountability. An example of retribution is where an individual is sentenced to death for committing a murder. Another significant example of retribution is where an individual has been accused of having committed fraud. In such case, the retribution or punishment according to the law might be the court ordering the individual to pay a certain amount of money to the victim in a form of compensation.
On the other hand, revenge is a form of retaliation that is carried out with the aim of receiving personal satisfaction from the suffering of another person. Flanders (2010) defines it as a deliberate act of harming another person as a way of responding to a wrong doing done by such person. It is considered as a form of justice with the only difference that such form of justice is personal in nature. In this sense, the individual is said to have taken the law into his/her own hands and exacted punishment to another person who had done wrong without any authority from the law. Flanders (2010) further assesses that revenge unlike retribution fails to correct the behavior of the person who has committed the wrong doing. The fact that it does not follow any legal procedure and is carried out to satisfy personal emotions making it quite unsuitable and unacceptable. As a result, revenge is condemned. Nonetheless, it is still considered as a form of justice. It is imperative to remember that revenge is usually sought in instances where retribution failed. One good example of revenge is the case of the ancient Code of Hammurabi. The code allowed people to exact revenge to those people who had wronged them. The code operated on the notion of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Another excellent example of revenge in modern society can be found in the concept of terrorism, where the radical Islamic groups kill people of other faiths as a way of revenging as they feel that other faiths have contaminated their own holy faith.
Overall, in a bid to distinguish retribution from revenge, it is imperative to remember that the punishment that is in relation to retribution must be proportionate to the type of crime committed and its seriousness. In addition, there must be some form of equality applied in the process. In addition, unlike revenge, retribution does not derive any form of pleasure in the suffering of others as a way of satisfying personal emotions. Further, while they may seem the same, retribution differs from revenge as it is enforced by the law, and it is usually applied with the aim of achieving justice.
Ethical Problems Related to War/ Military Approach to Terrorism (Question 5)
War/military approach to terrorism refers to a counter attack on terrorist activities using the military forces or through war. In the US, such approach started being used when terrorism became the top threat to its safety. Using of such approach has been raising very controversial debates among its supporters and those who reject it. It has led to creation of a number of ethical problems. Moreover, it caused the US to experience internal problems within its borders and also face problems as a consequence of its forces using the approach in the countries where it is fighting terrorism. Current essay explicates the ethical problems associated with the war/military approach to terrorism.
There are number of ethical problems related to the particular approach to terrorism. Firstly, it infringes on human rights to a very large extent. Rineheart (2010) affirms that when such approach is used many people tend to suffer. The impact of war is never good as it affects the innocent people who have no connection to terrorism. As a result, they may be involved into the war between the terrorists and the other fighting group. Sitaraman (2009) points out that another ethical problem that arises is that the participating government is only utilizing the approach in order to pursue its long-term policy objectives. Such policy objectives may include military objectives. Thus, the participating government may be applying the military approach in order to benefit itself by using the opportunity to improve its military strategies. In this case, the war acts as a training field for them.