exploring ethics

Please answer all six (6) of the following 6 questions, each worth 5 possible points.  Answer each question using the following formatting instructions:

  • Each answer should be no longer than 1 pages in lengthtypewritten, One inch margins on all sides, using Times Roman 12-point or Ariel 10-point font.
  • You may not use any quotations in your answers, and you may not copy any of your responses from the text or any other source (no plagiarizing!!)
  • You should certainly rely on the class text (Pollock), class lectures and discussions, and information provided by our guest lecturer (Professors Vivona and Jones) in preparing your answers.  You may also rely on other sources, so long as you cite them appropriately (APA format) in the text of your answer and on a separate list of references.  Your response to each question may contain no more than two outside sources (e.g., not from class lecture, text, discussion, or guest lecturer).  Your personal opinion and experience(s) may be included, but only as a supplement to another source.
  • Be sure to put your name on each exam page you turn in.


  1. Pollock reviews three central schools of thought (biological, learning, and developmental) regarding moral development – how individuals develop a sense of right and wrong, and what factors influence this development.
    1. Summarize each of these approaches by explaining their key themes, ideas, and specific factors that come into play.
    2. Pick two of them and develop an ‘integrated’ explanation of moral development, one that uses the key ideas of both to explain moral development in individuals.
    3. Next, pick one of the three and develop an argument for why it should be considered the most important influence on moral development, and how the criminal justice field could better promote ethical behavior by adhering to this particular theory.
  2. The Pollock text makes a clear distinction between the ‘crime fighter’ and ‘public servant’ roles in policing.  
    • a)Discuss and explain the difference between these two conceptualizations of the role of police in society.  Then, answer the following three questions:
    • b)How are these roles evident in the three historical eras of policing (political, professional, community-oriented)?
    • c)How do they relate to Packer’s distinction between the ‘crime control’ and ‘due process’ models of law enforcement?
    • d)Is any particular role of the police officer, or model of law enforcement, more open to corrupt and unethical behavior, or is unethical behavior equally likely (or not likely) within each conceptualization of police in society?  Explain your answer.
  3. How does the police subculture influence police behavior?  Consider the following topics and questions in preparing your response to this question.
    1. What is a professional subculture?
    2. How does Pollock (and others she cites in the text) describe the police subculture (there may be more than one description)?
    3. In what ways does the police subculture support ethical behavior by police officers?
    4. In what ways does the police subculture support unethical behavior by police officers?
    5. What is the best way (or ways), in your opinion, to effectively utilize the police subculture to support ethical behavior by police officers?
  4. Consider the following situation:
  5. Pollock discusses ethical issues for legal professionals.  
    1. What are the ethical obligations for prosecutors and defense attorneys?  
    2. How are they different, and in what ways are they similar?
    3. What is the difference between the description of a lawyer as a legal agent and as a moral agent?  Use an example to explain this difference.
  6. This question pertains to the attorney-client privilege (See Pollock).  

You are a rookie police officer who responds to a call for officer assistance.  Arriving at the scene, you see a ring of police officers surrounding a suspect who is down on his knees.  You don’t know what happened before you arrived, but you see a sergeant use a Taser on the suspect, and you see two or three officers step in and take turns hitting the suspect with their nightsticks about the head and shoulders.  This goes on for several minutes as you stand in the back of the circle.  No one says anything that would indicate that this is not appropriate behavior.

  • a)How would each of these ethical systems evaluate the appropriateness of the police behavior in this situation – ethics of virtue, ethics of care, formalism, utilitarianism?
  • b)How might you use the three different explanations of the sources of deviance to analyze this situation (individual, organizational, and societal explanations)?
  • c)What other information would you need to make a better assessment of this situation, from an ethical perspective?
  • a)How does Pollock describe this relationship?
  • b)What special obligations does this relationship impose on attorneys?
  • c)Consider the examples provided by Pollock and consider also the class discussion about attorney-client privilege that resulted in the imprisonment of a man falsely accused of murder for many years.
    1. Why does the attorney client-privilege exist, and why are such situations allowed to occur?
    2. Do you think that a criminal defense attorney should risk a 5-year disbarment from practicing law by violating this privilege in order to spare the feelings of crime victims or prevent the lengthy incarceration of an innocent man?  Explain your answer.    
      • i.If you agree, then explain how we might structure an ‘exclusionary rule’ for disbarment in these cases, considering, for example, the seriousness of the crime, the type of evidence available in such cases, the required experience of the attorney, or other factors that you think should be considered.
      • ii.If you disagree, and you think that the attorney-client privilege is ‘sacrosanct’ and should never be compromised for any reason, explain why you think so.  What risks (to individual attorneys, to the criminal justice system, to the legal profession) pertaining to potential unethical behavior would be introduced if such an ‘exclusionary rule’ was to be created?

exploring ethics

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