Respond to the stated question, including any relevance to and implications on the field of criminal justice. Be sure to discuss the issue(s) to which the question pertain(s). Remarks can include your opinion(s), but must be based on experience, research, and/or prior learning. Use this exercise to foster a rich dialogue with your colleagues about issues that are important to the field of criminal justice.
During the span of the discussion, you must post to this board on four unique days.
Stated Question 500 words
1-3 100 words
Stated Question: For this module, you are to read an article, newspaper, magazine, or other material that has a direct impact on ethical issues in the field of criminal justice. After reading the material, you are to develop an overview of the article, a critical response to your feelings on what happened and to what extent, and how this could be prevented in the future. Your initial comments should be no less than 500 words.
12 central American migrants had made it to a safe house on their journey to the United States when they were kidnapped by armed men who demanded money for their release. This is a daily occurrence for many Honduran, Salvadoran and Guatemalan migrants coming through Mexico (Leutert, 2018).
The trump administration has accused these migrants to be criminals when in fact they are the victims of violence. The risks of traveling for many of these families has increased tremendously over the last three decades, due to the increase of United States border patrol and Mexican migratory enforcement, they now must take more dangerous paths (Leutert, 2018).
Many migrants travel hundreds of miles on foot to escape violent gangs and get to safety. Central Americans do not report these crimes to the Mexican authorities out of fear or mistrust. Even when these crimes get reported not many are being investigated and even less are being prosecuted.
Trump is planning to send several thousands of active duty military members to defend the southern border to prevent the invasion of Central American migrants. Tents will be built along the borders to hold migrants who are looking for asylum. Troops will join border patrol and the National Guard in Texas, Arizona and California (Shear, D 2018).
The last time active duty military was involved with the border patrol was in the 80’s when drug and weapon smuggling across the border was at an all-time high. Trump is planning on holding these individuals long term which goes against court orders that prohibits long-term detention of migrant’s families (Shear, 2018).
I personally think that going against a court order that permits long-term detention of families and children to keep migrants from entering the US is morally and ethically unacceptable. By no means do I support thousands of migrants entering the US undocumented, but I find it inhumane to detain their children for an unknown amount of time.
I am certain there are many migrants that cross the border with bad intentions, intentions of making a living by selling drugs or guns, robbing stores, business etc. However, this is not the case for most migrants who simply want to come to the US to provide a safe environment for their families.
The fact that active duty military personnel are being ‘deployed’ to borders to prevent migrants from entering when all they are looking for is asylum is a misuse of power to me. Which itself is unethical but to deny someone and their family the right to safety is even worse. I think that there often ethical conflicts when it comes to politics and decision making.
In order to prevent these events, I think it would be fair to do extensive background checks and grant individuals asylum on the basis that they are going to be law-abiding citizens who contribute to society.
Last month, in Clay County, Florida, a sheriff’s deputy was fired as the result of inmates under his supervision being found drunk, (Head & Osiadacz). According to the article, the deputy was supervising the inmates on a work detail but failed to watch the individuals the entire time. Due to the deputy’s failure to execute his duties properly, the inmates utilized cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer to intoxicate themselves. In addition to alcohol, the presence of drugs was detected in the blood of a couple of inmates that were also on this work detail and tobacco which is also contraband was found. Most alarming about this investigation is according to the article; this is not the first time this deputy failed to supervise inmates. Head and Osiadacz cite interviews with inmates which revealed that this deputy was known to pay more attention to his phone, than inmates while out on work details. Not only was he on his phone the majority of the time, but he also stayed in the vehicle. According to the article, an investigation was conducted by the sheriff’s office as the result of a complaint regarding the latest incident, and the claims were substantiated which resulted in the immediate firing of the deputy. This incident occurred in a county that borders the county where this student lives and works.
This article is an example of blatant unethical behavior for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, the safety of the general public was severely compromised by this deputy’s laziness. Considering the circumstances, the community was lucky the prisoners were more concentrated on getting drunk and high and did not escape. The deputy remaining in his vehicle and watching his phone instead of properly supervising the inmates created a situation that could have been extremely dangerous to the public. It is also worth noting; Clay County is just miles from the base where this student is stationed, many active duty members of the Armed Forces live in this county. There is a considerable amount of mutual respect between law enforcement and the military, but just as Americans appreciate the service of military families, military personnel are grateful for law enforcement as well. In this case, a sworn officer demonstrated he cannot even be trusted to supervise inmates, and as a result disgraced all of those that swear to protect our communities, especially in communities where active duty servicemembers deploy from and rely on law enforcement to keep their families safe.
The second serious ethical concern is the issue of contraband. According to Banks, (2017), guards assisting in the smuggling of contraband is one of the biggest forms of corruption in a correctional setting. In this case, although the inmates utilized cleaning materials to get drunk and high, as stated earlier, tobacco was also found. It does not matter if the deputy physically provided the tobacco to the inmates or not, his neglect of duties led to the introduction of contraband in a correctional setting. Also, considering these inmates used hand sanitizer to get drunk, they apparently have a substance abuse problem. Their time in jail should be an opportunity for rehabilitation, but the deputy’s failure to guard against the abuse of substances is not going to be very helpful for the inmate or the community.
To prevent incidents like this from occurring in the future, one step would be to ensure deputies supervising inmates have partners. The fact this deputy appeared to be by himself seems like the biggest problem because a partner would hold him accountable. Also considering this was a work detail outside of the jail, having a partner would be the safer thing to do. Another recommendation would be to ban the use of cell phones while on duty. Deputies have radios, so smartphones serve nothing more than to distract them. Lastly, although there are privacy concerns regarding body-worn cameras in jails and prisons, this would not seem to be an issue outside of the facility. Officers who supervise inmates during outside work details should wear body cameras in order to document everything that happens, and to protect them as well.
While searching for publications or web related material that identify unethical practices within the criminal justice system. The New York Times published an article weigh in on the effects of plea bargaining. The article asserted, if the criminal justice system enjoys the fact that most convictions result from a plea bargain. The courts should be forced to apply constitutional regulations to the whole plea-bargaining process (Liptak, 2011).
The article written in 2011, anticipated a critical ruling by the United States Supreme with regards to principles concerning bad legal work at trails and how they affect or apply to plea bargains (Liptak, 2011).
The first case Anthony Cooper shot a woman four times below the waist. The defendants defense attorney convinced the defendant not plea out, due to only shooting the victim below the waist (Liptak, 2011). Therefore, the defendant was convinced he could not be convicted of assault with intent to murder. However, based on the legal advice he received from his attorney the defendant rejected a plea bargain offer that called for a sentence of four to seven years (Liptak, 2011). To his dismay he was convicted and sentenced to thirty years in a Michigan correctional facility.
The second case before the United States Supreme Court involved a defendant by the name of Galin Frye whom the defense attorney failed to inform the defendant that the state of Missouri was willing to let him plead guilty to a misdemeanor (Liptak, 2011). The defendant would have only been charged with a minor infraction of driving without a license. Which would have only consisted of 90 days in minimum security. Unfortunately for the defendant he was never informed and was sentenced to three years in a maximum state prison in the state of Missouri (Liptak, 2011).
The question of ethics applies directly to the technique of using plea bargains to closes cases. One important aspect is that in 2011 convictions in federal courts were the result of guilty pleas at a rate of 97% (Liptak, 2011). The argument is made that the process remains unregulated without true principles concerning plea agreements.
Plea bargaining is critical to the criminal justice system, without it. most jurisdictions would come to a screeching halt in processing cases. The question remains, does the sixth amendment apply to plea bargaining? The Sixth Amendment provides the right to effective counsel; however, does it include in that right, plea bargaining litigation.
Through personal observation if the courts rely heavily on plea bargaining. The Sixth Amendments right to trail and counsel in retrospect should cover every aspect of the litigation process. Furthermore, the counter claim could be made that there is no guaranteed right to a plea-bargaining agreement between the defendant and state. Which is correct, however, this opinion holds weight if you’re the prosecutor and not the defendant. To strike an ethical balance in the case of Anthony Cooper the defendant was given unsound legal advice. In Frye’s case, he was never informed of a plea agreement. To correct the unethical dilemma both defendants face, remove the ability of the court to litigate a plea agreement. Therefore, the prosecutor would have to try in a court of law each case. When such calamity overwhelms the court system, then the court system might regulate the process of plea bargaining.