Ethics in Criminal Justice System


Ethics is the foundation of professionalism. Ethics entails doing what is right or acceptable and is normally used to describe how persons should act in a professional ability. Ethical regulations should relate to all actions done by people. People’s views on specific arguments highly depend on their character, ethics, and values. Current paper analyzes ethical aspects in relation to the criminal justice system.


Ethics is defined as a moral philosophy that is responsible for the study of inquiry of what is right and wrong and how individuals should to live in the society. Moral rules are crucial because they are usually dependable guides for normal situations in life. Ethics normally entails principles of fair and candid conduct referred to as the conscience that is the capability to distinguish what is right and what is wrong and deeds that are good and appropriate. Unacceptable behaviors among the police are extortion, bribery, false swearing, and use of extreme force (Crank, Flaherty, & Giacomazzi, 2007).

Importance of Ethics

Ethical concerns are essential in making decisions entailing force, good judgment, and due practice that calls for individuals to make a liberal moral judgment. Studying moral principles increases understanding of matters regarding right and wrong choices, helps in discovering behaviors that have a moral substance and the proper way to conduct oneself.

Teaching important ethics enables advanced analytical skills as well as reasoning abilities required to understand sensibility and the theoretical facet of the criminal fairness system. Having knowledge about moral ethics helps someone to question and scrutinize suppositions that are usually not queried in areas such as politics and business. The study of moral principles allows improvement of tools that enhance ethical choice making.

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Ethics in Courts

In an ideal world, judges are viewed as flawless and do not permit feelings or personal favors to interfere with their work, treat cases and plaintiff equally, and use justice with leniency. Very few judges attain the status given to them by the public. These professionals can be involved in inappropriate conduct or overstep their limits in various ways. Examples of such vices are unsuitable sanctions and temperament, misuse of legal power, gender favoritism and harassment, individual conduct, and clash of interests.

Prosecuting representatives should closely watch their moral conduct. Cases of prosecutorial misbehaviors were reported in 1897 and continue to be reported in the present day. A famous example of an immoral conduct is Miller versus Patte to be performed by a prosecutor. The prosecutor hid from the panel of adjudicators a detail that a couple of undershot covered with red blemishes was red paint, but not blood. Verbal advocacy is essential in the courtroom and has a strong effect.

Defense attorneys are required to practice good moral principles and be capable of representing an accused person fairly. The accused has a right to an attorney and should be confident that their legal representative will defend them efficiently. Other workers such as court reporters, clerks, and bailiffs have the accountability of upholding moral standards. Some of the court employees have at times been indicted for crimes such as favoritism, bribery, and fixing tickets. It is considered as unlawful for a bailiff to say to jurors, for example, that the judge is disappointed with a particular lawyer or for a clerk to inform a lawyer friend that a particular judge chooses to read short memos.

Workers in correctional facilities are faced with similar moral dilemmas as police officers. The correction subculture strength is linked with the protection level of a correctional institution and is tougher in maximum-security prisons. Influential forces have a bigger influence on the conduct of correctional officials than supervisors of the facility, agency procedures, and legislative rulings. Problems in security and the manner in which all correctional officials have to depend on one another for their security make loyalty to each other an important practice.

Traditions of correctional facilities like its police equivalent offer various affirmative qualities in a disaster situation, including communal support and safety. This is crucial for emotional and mental well-being of correctional officers (Grometstein, 2010). Ethics falls into two categories discussed below.

Relative Ethics

What one individual view as ethical demeanor may be greatly unethical for another person. A large percentage of ethical matters are straightforward. Sometimes, people appear ready to abide by extralegal conduct when there is a bigger public benefit, particularly when dealing with issues such as a bunch of criminals and homeless people. Ethical relativism shapes an important part of the community monitoring movement. Providing untrue testimony to make sure that a public threat is put away or unlawful wiretapping of a planned crime suspect’s phone is allowed may at times be seen as essential and reasonable.

Relativism does not imply that people cannot condemn other cultures on ethical grounds. However, it suggests that when people say that an individual in a different culture did something immoral, they should judge the individual by the standard of that particular culture and not by their own. Cultural relativism states that moral principles and practice differ from one culture to another. Supporters of cultural relativism dispute that each society has a distinct ethical code clarifying what actions are allowed or what are not accepted. Cultural relativism is closely related to anthropology and people view it as an anthropological assumption.

Absolute Ethics

The concept disputes that there is a presence of the eternal and rigid ethical law that applies to all people, every time and everywhere. The theory supposes that some moral codes are relevant to every individual and that they can identify or ascertain the codes. These principles then direct them in choosing the manner of their demeanor and in criticizing behavior of other people. Absolutism is regarded as valid despite people’s thoughts and approaches. Relative ethics teaches about importance of open mentality and understanding.

Noble Cause Corruption

Noble cause corruption takes place when the police observe relative ethics and the principle of double effect. The noble cause can happen anywhere in the criminal fairness system. The noble cause holds with it a dissimilar way of thinking about the police’s relationship with the law. It is a pledge to perform actions that avert unlawful human conduct and to arrest a lawbreaker. The police operate on the concept that puts individual moral values before the law. The police person becomes a representative of the law and functions as the law itself.

Examples of noble causes of corruption are the police declining to state to a drunkard his/her legal rights and conducting a field soberness test. In addition, such behavior may entail placing of false evidence, writing of a ticket to an individual, and not issuing it out, thus resulting in issuing a warrant for not appearing in court. Another example is a persuasive means of punishment whereby the police note down the event in such a manner that it makes the suspect look like a criminal even though he/she is not guilty. By taking part in such actions and believing that the end validates the means, officers damage their profession. When people take part in these actions, they take on a philosophy that maintains the belief that justice ought to be practiced on the streets away from the court and it is ethically right to do anything to detain wrongdoers (Rothlein, 2008).

According to Rothlein (2008), the heartbreaking murder of one Boston officer named Sherman Griffins in 1988 drew attention to repercussions that arose from noble cause fraud-based regulation enforcement. Police carried out a search that day in the house of the primary suspect Albert Lewin. On entering his house, Mr. Lewin shot at one of the officers and Mr. Griffiths died on the spot. They accused Lewin of killing the officer although charges were withdrawn on the discovery that the affirmation of the search permit requested by Detective Luna was based upon fake information and a conjured informant. The detective was accused of perjury whereas accusations against Lewin were legally withdrawn.

A large amount of research done for the cause has focused on the negative facet,and has been explained in terms of the delusion or infringement of procedural limitations to manage felony and disorder (Crank, Flaherty, & Giacomazzi, 2007). When people allow abuse of power in the name of the noble cause, they are doing the community no good. The criminal justice structure is faulty and lacking although it is the most refined and humane process of upholding order and ensuring a free world for the public.

Prosecutors and law officers adhere to the felony control form of criminal justice structure and, in so doing, they take a teleological outlook of the ethical system. Noble cause among prosecutors reveal itself in actions commonly known as prosecutorial misbehavior that are hardly approved by courts because of the hesitation witnesses feel with consideration to the misdemeanor (Gromestetein, 2010).


Ethics is the foundation of any profession and, as such, ethical concerns are essential in regard to decisions, involving prudence, use of force, and due process. Professionals are supposed to be familiar with ethical outcomes of events. Professionals in the criminal justice system should closely watch their morals. Relative ethics is whereby what seems ethical to one person is considered as unethical by another, while absolute ethics is the ethical law that applies to all people, every time and everywhere. Noble cause corruption takes place when the police observe relative ethics and the principle of double effect.

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