Justice in Law Enforcement

Topics: Police, Law, Federal Bureau of Investigation Pages: 5 (1802 words) Published: June 26, 2006
Justice in Law Enforcement
The true concept of justice is a concept involving moral, fair, and impartial treatment of all individuals. Justice is a concept that has many different translations and a concept that can be changed on a case-by-case basis. Justice, as it pertains to law enforcement, is an example of the many faces of justice and how it can be subjective. Conceptually, justice is synonymous with law enforcement. Within this profession, justice can be defined as the ability to treat perpetrators and all individuals encountered, while on the job, with the highest quality of fairness. In order for law enforcement to promote a universal definition of justice, officers must possess the moral ability to lawfully enforce laws of the land and adhere to the honor expressed by the department and its mission. Officers must maintain a temperament that is deemed by the organization as "honorable" and "morally" right. Justice also encompasses officers respecting and upholding the rights of all individuals, while on and off the job and giving perpetrators what they deserve within the rules of the law. Impartiality must be a major aspect of justice and law enforcement. Justice can also be viewed as subjective in law enforcement practices, creating various ways it is administered. At times, because law enforcement professionals have to handle situations on a case-by-case basis, the definition of justice varies among individuals within this field. While on the street, officers have a considerable amount of control and may exercise their ability to determine how justice should be administered at any time. Dependant on the officer's personal ethical standards practices of prejudice, slanted judgment, and unfair choices can demean the department's implied definition of justice. The use of subjective justice in law enforcement is very prominent. Biased decisions occur daily, leaving law enforcement open to interpret justice in its own way and to shape it into what is acceptable in the situation at hand. Law Enforcement Practices and Justice

Law enforcement encompasses many ways justice is applied to everyday practices that reserve the rights of the perpetrator and are dictated by laws. Several examples of this are probable cause, search warrants, and the Miranda rule. By law people have the right to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures and a warrant shall not be issued except on probable cause (Tetu, 2004). Probable cause is a clear example of procedural law and how law enforcement should handle searches and seizures, and arrests when pursuing individuals suspected of criminal behavior. It protects from arbitrary intrusions into the privacy and liberties of individuals. Using this practice, justice is exhibited because the Fourteenth Amendment rights of the individuals are not violated by unlawful behavior by law enforcement. Although, probable cause attempts to reserve these rights, there are exceptions to this rule that allow law enforcement to exercise such things as reasonable suspicion.

Search warrants are used in combination with probable cause in order to obtain objects or materials at a definite location and at a definite time. Many times warrants are very direct in the items that can be searched for and seized. Convincing a judge or magistrate that probable cause exists, law enforcement may obtain a search warrant to a place or for a person. Search warrants are used to protect individuals from unlawful searches of person and property. By law, an individual has the expectation of privacy and should not have their rights violated without the proper practices exercised by law enforcement. Even though search warrants are commonly needed to search and seize, evidence or contraband in "plain view" of an officer can be confiscated without the use of a warrant. This is an exception to the search warrant philosophy and may be exercised by the officer at any time.

The Miranda rule is another form of justice...
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