Discuss All YourOptions in this Scenario. Show How Each Option Has a Basis in anEthical System.
Firstly, I can take immediate action of arresting the minors and thesergeant for violating the law regarding the consumption of alcoholand smoking of cigarettes for people below the age of 21 and 18 yearsrespectively. Regardless of his position in the police department,the sergeant has violated the state laws and thus should be heldliable. It is, therefore, my duty to present him to the districtattorney who would in turn file a charge against him. This option hasan ethical consequence since my colleagues, and the sergeant wouldview me as a traitor although the state and my boss may think I am adiligent patrol officer.
Secondly, I can decide to do nothing. Considering that one of thepersons who have committed the offense is my senior in terms of rank,every decision that I make will have detrimental effects on my lifeand career, particularly if my colleagues do not agree with my courseof action. On the other hand, if I fail to act as directed by the lawI would be executing my duties with favoritism which is against theethical code of criminal justice practitioners. More so, if I a failto act, I would be acting as an accomplice to the crime.
Thirdly, I can give the sergeant a warning that if he does not askall the minors smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol in hiscompound to stop I would be forced to arrest him. Besides, I can makethe sergeant promise me that he would never repeat the offense. Thisoption aims at striking a balance between executing the law andsafeguarding my relationship with the sergeant and my fellow patrolofficers present in the incident. However, this option depicts me asan individualistic person by prioritizing my needs over those of theyoung persons whose lives are being endangered by being givencigarettes and alcohol.
ProvideBackground Information From Your Home State Regarding the BehaviorsDescribed in the Scenario. What Does Your State Says About ProvidingTobacco or Alcohol to a Minor?
In New York, a person who has not attained the age of 21 years shouldnot possess or purchase any alcoholic beverage with the intent ofconsuming it. The state also forbids any adult from furnishing orfacilitating a minor to access alcohol. There are only two exceptionsto this rule. Firstly, minors may possess alcohol if they intend touse it for educational programs. On this note, students who areenrolled in a course that is registered or licensed by the statedepartment responsible for certifying educational programs may testor even consume alcoholic beverages. Additionally, minor may consumeor possess alcohol provided to them by their guardian or parents (NewYork Al. Bev. Con Section 65-c (2) (b) (Steiner, 2012)
According to Steiner (2012), the New York`s law that deals with thepossession of alcohol by minors impose fines and not criminalconvictions for any person who has violated it. For punishment forminors who violated the law include fines, forceful enrolment to analcohol awareness program, and community service.
In terms of giving cigarettes to minors, the New York’s lawprohibits any adults from engaging in any act that endangers thewelfare of a child. Therefore, if the sergeant in the case scenariowas working in New York City, he would be guilty of endangering thelives of minors. In the People v. Jacqueline Cardona, the court heldthat giving a lit cigarette to a person below the age of 17 yearsamounts to endangering the welfare of a child (Saland, 2013).
Identify theutilitarian and deontological philosophies of each option.
According to utilitarianism, the best action is the one thatmaximizes the utility. Utility in this context means the achievementof happiness for the largest number of people. This theory ofethical decision making maintains that the rightness or wrongness ofan action is solely based on the outcomes. More so, the utilitarianethical system recognizes the fundamental role played by pain andpleasure in human life (Online Guide to Ethics and Moral Philosophy:Utilitarianism, 2016).
According to the utilitarianism, option one which entails mereporting the sergeant to the relevant authority is the wrongdecision. This is because I am the only person who will achievehappiness. For instance, the sergeant may end up losing his job, andthis means that his family will suffer economically following hisdismissal. For the minors, they will have to face a juvenile court,and they may end up being forced to pay fines or engage in communityservice. My action will also have devastating effects on the bondbetween my colleagues and me present since they would view me as atraitor.
For option two, the utilitarian theory would view the decision not todo anything in the name of protecting my relationship with thesergeant and my colleagues as the best decision. This is because thisdecision achieves the maximum possible utility. For instance, thedecision will not affect the bond that unites me with my colleagues.Besides, the minors who are drinking alcohol and smoking cigaretteswill not have to face the traumatic court cases. More so, thesergeant would not be punished by the department which means that hisfamily will not suffer any economic consequences. According to theutilitarian theory, option three has the same consequence as optiontwo which means that it is a good decision.
On the other hand, deontological philosophy of ethical decisionmaking focuses on the wrongness or rightness of actions themselvesand not their consequences as is the case with utilitarianism.According to this approach, an action is termed as right or wrongdepending on whether or not it conformed to the set norm (StanfordEncyclopedia of Philosophies, 2016).
According to the deontological philosophies, option one which entailsme arresting the sergeant for violating the laws prohibiting givingalcohol and cigarettes to minors is a right decision. This is becausethe decision is achieved after considering the set norm which in thiscase is the state’s laws regarding the consumption of alcohol andcigarette smoking by minors.
The deontological ethical theory would view option two which involvedoing nothing in the name of safeguarding my relationship with thesergeant and other patrol officers present as the wrong decision.This is because it was achieved by disregarding of the existing law.The same case applies to options three with entails giving a warningto the sergeant and making him promise that he would desist fromgiving or allowing underage persons to smoke cigarettes or drinkalcohol in his vicinity. This option is the wrong one since it isfounded on the disrespect of the set laws.
Describe WhatYour Response Would Be. Explain How Your Response Would Hold Up IfQuestioned by Your captain.
In the case scenario, I would start by going to where the minors areand ask them several questions. For instance, I would ask thesergeant’s daughter how often his father gives him cigarettes.Additionally, I would like to know why they are drinking alcohol andsmoking cigarettes. I would also request the sergeant to report to myoffice immediately the party is over to discuss his action of givingcigarettes to minors. Once he comes to see me at the station, I wouldask him why he is ignoring the law forbidding minors from smokingcigarettes or drinking alcohol. If I come to the realization that thesergeant has been endangering the lives of the minor, I will draftthe necessary documents and send them to the district attorneyrecommending his arraignment in court
My rationale for taking the above action is to assess whether thereis a strong ground to arrest the sergeant and formally charge himwith violating the state laws. Also, my action aims at assessingwhether there is another way of solving the issues that has lesssevere repercussions to all the parties involved.
Online Guide to Ethics and Moral Philosophy: Utilitarianism. (2016).Accessed on March 14, 2017.http://caae.phil.cmu.edu/cavalier/80130/part2/sect9.html
Saland, J. (2013). When sharing cigarettes is a crime: The lowlevels threshold for prosecuting endangering the welfare of a child(NY PL260.10) in New York. Accessed on March 14,2017https://www.newyorkcriminallawyer-blog.com/2013/10/sharing-cigarettes-with-a-child-the-low-level-threshold-for-prosecuting-endangering-the-welfare-of-a.html
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophies. (2016). Deontological ethics.Accessed on March 14, 2017.https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-deontological/
Steiner, M. (2013). New York minor in possession of alcohol lawsand penalties. Accessed on March 14, 2017.http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/crime-penalties/new-york-minor-possession-alcohol-charges-penalt