While you suspect that Sam is lying to cover for his brother, you also know he will not snitch out his brother. As a matter of fact, you believe that Sam will do almost anything to protect his brother from another prison sentence.
Because you have been working this case for so long, Sam and Calvin are very familiar with you. They know you by first name and would immediately recognize you in a crowd. They know that you suspect Calvin of the murder and have been working hard on the case.
One day after work, you are driving down your street when you notice the house next door to yours has a new family moving in. As you drive by you notice that it is Sams family, the brother of the murder suspect, Calvin. As you drive past the house, you see Sam in the front yard. Your eyes meet and he immediately knows who you are. He watches you as you pull into your driveway. When you chose law enforcement as a career you understood there would be sacrifices and risks to your safety but you didnt count on this.
Before answering the questions at the end of this document, please consider the following information and or circumstances. Considering this information may help you make a more ethical decision on how to handle this.
Do you stop by Sams house and welcome him to the neighborhood?
Do you tell your wife and your three young children who your new neighbor is and how you know them? There are department regulations that prohibit you from sharing this information with anyone who is not a police officer. By policy, you are prohibited from sharing any information about this case with your family, friends or neighbors. Do you follow the regulations or ignore them and risk being disciplined by your department? Do you tell some of your neighbors who are your closest friends about the situation but not others? Sharing any information about the murder investigation is not only against policy but it may also jeopardize a conviction and allow a killer to go free. When you became a police officer you knew that you would be exposed to dangers and risks but you never thought that these risks or dangers would be extended to your family.
Do you ask the chief to be removed from the case or do you stay on as the lead investigator?
If you give up the case, it may go unsolved or at the very least justice will be delayed because no one knows the case like you do.Unnecessarily delaying the arrest of the suspect could expose other people to his violent behavior. Even if you give up the case, you will still be called to testify as a witness in the case and Sam and Calvin will still know where you live.
If you keep the case, do you continue to investigate it aggressively or do you slowly close it out as unsolved?Remember this is a circumstantial case. There is a possibility that if Calvin is charged a jury may not convict him. Keep in mind that based upon everything you know you are convinced that Calvin is guilty of murder. Even if you arrest Calvin for the murder, his brother and their friends will still be out on the street and able to hurt you or your family. If someone else solves the case will they blame you and take it out on your family anyway?
Moving is not an option as your house is only half way through a major renovation and you do not have the money to send your family somewhere else. You do not have any family members in the area and none of your friends have the room to take in your family.
How do your decisions affect you personally and professionally?
What is more important, your family or bringing a murderer to justice? Do you have to choose one or can you balance both priorities? How will your decisions affect the stakeholders?
FINAL EXAM QUESTIONS
Please answer the following questions. What you decide is as important and why you made that decision. Fully explain your thought process behind why you decided to do what you did. Failure to fully explain your thought process and how you weighed competing values and priorities will result in a reduced grade.
Who are the stakeholders in the ethical dilemma?
How do you handle the situation with your family and friends? What is the ethical thing to do?
Do you continue as the lead investigator on the case? Why or why not? Ethically what should you do?
With the knowledge that an arrest of Calvin will be a flashpoint, do you continue to push for an arrest warrant even if you are not the lead investigator? What is the ethical thing to do?
Do you go next door and speak to Sam or do you ignore him?
How are you going to respond if he comes over to your house?