Ethical Dilemna – Law Enforcement
1.What is the ethical issue or problem? Identify the issue succinctly.The ethical issue would be rather to arrest the man for domestic violence or driving while intoxicated due to the test that the officers performed and what they observed.
What are the most important facts? Which facts have the most bearing on the ethical decision presented? Include any important potential economic, social, or political pressures, and exclude inconsequential facts.
The most important facts is that the car was still warm and they observed the man drop something out of his pockets that looked like keys. The wife stated that she had not driven the vehicle all day and the man stated that he had not driven the car since he arrived 4 hours ago. The officer performed a sobriety test and a preliminary alcohol screening test which revealed that the man’s blood alcohol was twice the legal limit. There was also a domestic violence call which is the reason the officer responded to the house.
3. Identify each claimant (key actor) who has an interest in the outcome of this ethical issue. From the perspective of the moral agent—the individual contemplating an ethical course of action—what obligation is owed to the claimant? Why? Claimant
Obligation (owed to the claimant)
Perspective (What does the claimant hope will happen?)
The husband is trying to avoid being arrested and wishes to be left alone by
The wife does not want to her husband to be arrested and does not want the help of the two officers
Officer Nixon and Officer Nook
The officers are there to seek the truth and justice of the crimes that have been committed. Even though the case may be thrown out of court the officers do have the warmth of the car as evidence to present to the court.
Society wants to make sure that the wife gets help against her husband for domestic violence. Society also wants to make sure that the streets are safe and if the husband is behind the wheel at the double the legal limit of alcohol then he is putting himself and society in harm.
4. What are two alternatives for the scenario? One alternative can be a wild card that you ordinarily may not consider an option because of potential implications. Both should be within free will and control of the same moral agent. Alternative A
5. Respond to the following questions based on your developed alternatives.
What are the best- and worst-case scenarios if you choose this alternative?
Will anyone be harmed if this alternative is chosen? If so, how will they be harmed? Consider families and derivative effects.
Would honoring an idea or value—such as personal, professional, or religious—make the alternative invalid?
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.
Applying Ethical Guidelines
6. Consider each ethical guideline and explain whether it would support or reject your alternative. Guidelines based on the action itself
Should this alternative become a rule or policy that everyone in this situation should follow in similar situations in the future? (Kant)
Does this alternative result in using any person as a means to an end without consideration for his or her basic integrity? (Kant)
Is the intent of this action free from vested interest or ulterior motive? (Kant’s good will)
Does this alternative demonstrate a genuine concern for others affected by the decision, and is the moral agency responding to a perceived need?
Guidelines based on consequences
Is the good that results from this alternative outweighed by the potential harm that might be done to others? (Mill’s harm principle)
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)
Which alternative will generate the greatest benefit—or the least amount of harm—for the greatest number of people? Select only one alternative. (utilitarianism)
Ethical Decision Making
7. Choose to proceed with either Alternative A or Alternative B and explain the reasons for your decision.