Criminal Justice Ethics
In this scenario I am a police detective with a partner. We handle majority of all homicide cases in our town. Just recently, a woman in our city was walking alone at night and was later found brutally raped, beaten and left for dead. This woman is now in a coma. Earlier that same evening of the attack, a gang of young men were seen in the area, assaulting and threatening passersby. The responding officers picked up two members of the gang, 14 years of age each, near the location of the crime after they fled questioning by the police. Both youths have records for robbery and assault.
My partner had already completed interviewing both suspects in separate interrogation rooms. Both youths are entitled to have their parents present, but it seems that no significant effort was made to find their parents. It is also department policy to have important interviews taped. My partner did not tape either one of the interviews. My partner then comes up to my desk and tells me that they both have confessed to the attack. The first thing I ask my partner is where their parents are and where is the video tape of the interrogation room? My partner tells me, “Don’t worry about it. They are both as guilty as sin. We can close the case.” I don’t know what line of questioning was used in the interrogation room and am fairly certain that my partner may have crossed the line during the interview, which is why he wanted to conduct the interview on his own. However, with what I know about the case so far, I am convinced that both suspects are guilty! What do I do?
I challenge my partner about what happened in the interview room. He tells me he did cross the line and intentionally avoided bringing their parents in as to make it easier to frighten both suspects. He assures me that they are absolutely guilty and I accept this. Both suspects are arrested and held over for trial with no bail. This criminal investigation has been underway for several months and...