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Ethics in a Criminal Investigation

Ja’Net C. Allen
Criminal Investigation CJ 210-01
Professor Ronald Reinhardt
March 6, 2012
Before going into detail about the ethical dilemmas that some law enforcement agents may struggle with it is important to examine what it means to be ethical. According to Banks (2009) “ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy concerned with the study of questions of right and wrong and how we ought to live” (p. 3). Ethics is making moral judgments about what is right and wrong. This is something that an investigator encounters every day; should I or shouldn’t I. When they are faced with this choice there are investigators that make right and sound decisions and some who don’t (Banks, 2009). Ethical Considerations

When investigating crimes such as homicide and robbery it is important that all involved are acting in an ethical manner. An ethical investigation is necessary to ensure that all evidence is admissible in a court trial. There are ethical concerns that are shared between these two types of crimes such as: an investigator remaining open minded and unbiased, tampering with evidence to secure a search warrant, refusing a suspect a lawyer after they request one, coercion of a suspect after arrest to gain a confession and falsifying a police report to ensure that a suspect gets arrested and eventually convicted. An investigator must also know how to conduct all parts of a criminal investigation in a professional manner. Properly conducting an investigation is the key to ensuring that a suspect will be convicted of the crime committed. (Osterberg & Ward, 2010) Although homicide and robbery share some similarities when it comes to ethical considerations; they also have different elements or corpus delicti for the investigator to prove in order to be successful in an investigation and eventually the prosecution of a suspect. Osterberg and Ward (2010) have determined that “the...

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