CJS 211 Ethical Dilemma Worksheet

Ethical Dilemma Worksheet

Incident Review


D.D.A. Acute must decide whether to prosecute using the report Officer Nixon dropped off but has been clearly changed from the original. “D.D.A. Acute notes that the main difference between the old and new reports is that it states that the officers observed the husband driving and then parking the blue station wagon as the patrol car pulled up at the residence.” This would mean that the defendant is guilty of DWI.

The report has been altered from its original form which changes the ability of the DA to prosecute.  This is questionable because of the ethics.


(key actor)

Obligation (owed to the claimant) Perspective (What does the claimant hope will happen?)
Society Justice

Society would not desire for the husband to get away with the crimes he has committed but would not desire to have him convicted wrongfully.


Police Officers Duty

It is the officers duty to deal with criminal activity but in a credible manner.


Wife Fidelity, beneficence

The wife would prefer that the police leave in order to stop the situation from becoming worse than what it already is. The wife is not concerned with justice but merely avoiding a worse situation.



Evaluating Alternatives


Alternative A Alternative B
The prosecutor should dismiss the case. The prosecutor should seek to make a deal with the defendant.
Alternative A Alternative B
What are the best- and worst-case scenarios if you choose this alternative?

Best case- The man walks with no harm done.


Worst case- the husband continues with drinking and driving and abusing his wife





Best case- The husband admits guilt.


Worst case- the husband pleads innocent and the state is found to be culpable in promoting unethical behavior.

Will anyone be harmed if this alternative is chosen? If so, how will they be harmed? Consider families and derivative effects.

Possibly the wife or a member of the community.



Most likely the husband.
Would honoring an idea or value—such as personal, professional, or religious—make the alternative invalid?

Professional ethics would dictate that no action is required.



A conviction to community wide invalidates the first alternative because of the possibility that the husband will cause harm.
Are there any rules, laws, or principles that support the alternative? Are there rules, laws, or principles that make the alternative invalid? State the rule or principle and indicate if it invalidates or supports the alternative.

The law clearly states that a person cannot be arrested under this circumstance. This supports dropping the case.


Prosecutors are obligated to prosecute crimes but ethically.

Prosecutors Scenario

Ethical Issue: Prosecutors

Applying Ethical Guidelines


Guidelines based on the action itself Alternative A Alternative B
Should this alternative become a rule or policy that everyone in this situation should follow in similar situations in the future? (Kant) This alternative should be a policy due to the ethical implications. No because the prosecutor is treading a line of unethical behavior.
Does this alternative result in using any person as a means to an end without consideration for his or her basic integrity? (Kant) Yes No
Is the intent of this action free from vested interest or ulterior motive? (Kant’s good will) Yes No
Does this alternative demonstrate a genuine concern for others affected by the decision, and is the moral agency responding to a perceived need? Yes No
Guidelines based on consequences Alternative A Alternative B
Is the good that results from this alternative outweighed by the potential harm that might be done to others? (Mill’s harm principle) Yes No
Is any harm brought about by anyone other than the moral agent? (causal harm)



Will anyone be harmed who can be said to be defenseless? (paternalism)



To what degree is this alternative based on the moral agent’s own best interest? (ethical egoism) The Prosecutor is fully aware of the ethical ramifications and must consider this in relation to his circumstance as DA None
Which alternative will generate the greatest benefit—or the least amount of harm—for the greatest number of people? Select only one alternative. (utilitarianism) Alternative A


Ethical Decision Making


Alternative A presents the most ethical choice because it provides the most benefit for all individuals involved. By not prosecuting all parties are protected from the harm of wrongful conviction.


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