Criminal Justice The Use of Noble Cause Corruption

A type of misconduct that is being used in the law enforcement is noble cause corruption.  Applying the philosophy that the end justifies the means, the law enforcement is being used to achieve peace and security through the violation of laws in order to accomplish the mission.  By promoting peace for the greater good of the society, the law enforcement is engaged with a mission that violates the laws themselves, as they lose moral compass, while affecting the reputation of the agency.  This supports the philosophy that it is morally right to do whatever it takes to imprison who prey on society (Rothlein, 2008, p.1).  Is it rightful to apply force and violation of the law for the sake of the greater good of the society

This paper reflects on the two sides of the coin the side that supports the use of noble cause corruption as well as the side that opposes it.  It reflects over the decree that the end justifies the means, and what is more important is the greater good of the many.  In the end, it gives us the conclusion that the rightful use of noble cause corruption depends on whether the bad means achieves the good end, and how much good is being achieved in the end.

Main Body
Noble cause corruption is good for the society
A police officer that inflicts pain on his subject may have acquired information that would save an innocent victim in the end.  Using the utilitarian viewpoint that the end justifies the means (Pollock, 2010, p.267), the law enforcement may apply the magic pencil by making up facts to justify a warrant or to establish probable cause for arrests (Pollock, 2010, p.267) for the greater good of the many.  Because noble cause appears to be the underlying reason for the unrightful deed, it claims nobility of the act and should therefore be preserved.  There are a number of ways that the police organizations, crime-lab investigators, and prosecutors apply noble cause corruption to the law enforcement through the application of the teleological ethical system, such as the following

Through investigation.  Through investigation, the law enforcement, crime-lab investigators, and prosecutors apply noble cause corruption by collecting evidence that would successfully prosecute the convicted criminal.  This is in the form of ignoring witnesses or evidence or even manufacturing evidence to shore up a case against an individual (Pollock, 2010, p.269).  The police interacts in a deceptive manner during investigation, while using the decree that no interaction should go on longer than twenty-four hours without a warrant with probable cause (Pollock, 2010, p.276) and not engaging in intimate relationships in the course of the investigation.  Balancing the utility of the action requires the application of utilitarian ethics, while engaging in investigative deceptions.

Through undercover operations.  Through the use of undercover operations, the law enforcement, crime-lab investigators, and prosecutors apply noble cause corruption by examining and revealing the operations dictated by the movement.  This leads the perceived criminal to an unintended crime, and the law officials to a concealed danger.  There are situations wherein decoys have been attacked, undercover officers have been robbed, and undercover officers have been killed because of judicial reasons.  According to the principle of the double effect, when one does an action to achieve a good end and inevitable but unintended effect is negative, the action might be justified (Pollock, 2010, p.280).
The unethical movement of the police and the law enforcement is being justified if the unethical consequence was not intended and the goal was an ethical one (Pollock, 2010, p.280).  By this the action is being justified by concentrating more on the effect and not the means.  This, however, puts aside actions like deception of the innocent, since it contains an intended effect and not an unintended effect.  The double effect applies only on good ends.    

Through interrogation.  Through the use of interrogation, the law enforcement, crime-lab investigators, and prosecutors apply noble cause corruption through the promotion of intended deception and mental coercion.  There is the use of threat or promise attached to this action, inducing confessions or information from the perceived victim.  There are a number of deceptive interrogation techniques suggested by Skolnick and Leo (1992), such as calling the questioning an interview rather than an interrogation, presenting Miranda warnings in a way designed to negate their effect, mispresenting the nature or seriousness of the offense, mispresenting the moral seriousness of the offense, using manipulative appeals to conscience through role playing, as well as mispresenting identity by pretending to be lawyers or priests (Pollock, 2010, p.283).  Mental deception is more commonly used than the physical means of coercion (Pollock, 2010, p.283).  The use of deceptive conversations may be used in promoting the greater good of the many.

Noble cause corruption is not good for the society
The police organizations, crime-lab investigators, and prosecutors usually apply shortcuts that would convict the perceived guilty, with the latter being noted as innocent unless perceived guilty by the law enforcement.  In their desire to have the perceived criminal convicted, these people commit perjury, which is a serious crime.  Pollock (2010) dictates the statement mentioned by Alderson (1998) who states the following

Noble cause corruption is a euphemism for perjury, which is a serious crime In ethical police terms justice is not divisible in this way into means and ends, and the peddlers of this perversion of justice are guilty of the immorality of the totalitarian police state, and their views stand to be roundly condemned. (Pollock, 2010, p.268)

This supports the theory that what is more important is the nobility of the act itself and not the ends of the act.  Here we see that there is no truth being claimed in the theory that the means justifies the end but that the means is being justified itself and not the ends.  This reflects the deontological ethical system, which is grounded on the belief that how and why you do something is more important than the result your behavior produces (Bayley, 2010, p.1).  It presupposes that if your actions are inherently good, then it doesnt matter what the outcome is since your conduct is ethically sound (Bayley, 2010, p.1).  On the other hand, if actions are inherently bad, then it doesnt matter what the outcome is, since your conduct is ethically wrong.  Here we see the difference of what is more important the means or the ends this differentiates the teleological from the deontological ethical systems.  Therefore, if the nobility of the act itself is being recognized, then it is being made evident that noble cause corruption is not noble at all, and that there is no way it can be recognized as something that is good, since more emphasis is being put on the means and not the ends.

It is said that the culture of police is not supportive of egoistic criminality, but it is supportive of catching the criminalwhatever it takes (Pollock, 2010, p.268).  As for changing the culture of police, we have to address it directly, as multiculturalism becomes a reality, and the police and justice officials need to adapt and accommodate the needs of different groups (Pollock, 2010, p.268).  Here we see that policing is being shaped by the culture of the society, and that it shapes the culture of the society.  However, as the use of coercion physically, mentally, and psychologically harms the convicted person, we say that noble cause corruption is morally bad in the society.  What then, is the drawing line between the proper use of noble cause corruption and the unlawful use of this corruption

According to Miller (1999), the drawing line can be seen in the way the police think and enact the whole predicament.  According to Miller (1999),

The paradox whereby police necessarily use methods which are normally morally wrong to secure morally worthy ends sets up a dangerous moral dynamic.  The danger is that the police will come to think that the ends always justify the means to come to accept the inevitability and desirability of so-called noble cause corruption.  From noble cause corruption, they can graduate to straightforward corruption (Miller, 1999, p.1)            

The main strategy would then be to solve cases in particular wherein methods are used principally according to the presented case.  It is important not to commit straightforward corruption, which is very near the boundary line of noble cause corruption.  There are cases wherein true criminals were not discovered or punished because the police officers were not able to apply proper protocol in the collection of evidence.  Errors in judgment make way for injustice, and it ends up to the police officials creating crime and injustice themselves.  This is true in entrapments, wherein an otherwise innocent person commits an illegal act because of police encouragement or enticement (Pollock, 2010, p.272).  Therefore, police organizations, crime-lab investigators, and prosecutors should be very vigilant when applying their presupposed investigation.

In Brewer v. Williams case, the Supreme Court ruled that police unconstitutionally infringed on the defendants right to counsel because the conversation constituted an interrogation without counsel, after counsel had been appointed (Pollok, 2010, p.283).  There are other cases, however, wherein the Supreme Court approved involved deceptive conversations before counsel has been appointed.  Delattre has presented a virtue-based ethical system, and indicates that a good, virtuous officer can still commit an illegal use of force, since one act of violence does not necessarily mean that the officer is unethical in other ways (Pollok, 2010, p.285).  Here it is evident that applying force and violation of the law for the sake of the greater good of the society is rightful if it is exclusively, rightfully done for the good of the many.  The key ingredient would be determined by effect of the deed, whether it achieves a good end, and how much good is being attained in the end.

The activities of the police and law enforcements are so diverse.  As stated by Seumas Miller (1999),
There can be no overarching philosophical theory or explanatory framework that spells out the fundamental nature and purpose of policing because the activities that the police engage in are so diverse. (Miller, 1999, p.1)

Engrossed in a wide variety of activities, police and law enforcement officials are highly visible authority figures who carry the right to position coercive force.  They carry the moral right to life, liberty, physical security, as well as property.  According to Miller (1999), They constitute the basic moral norms of the society (p.1) and thus, are an important part of the society.  As reflected in writings of Pollock (2010), if the goal of the police is purely crime control, then there is greater inclination to use utilitarian rationales and the teleological ethical system.  However, if it is for the sake of egocentric goals and ambition, then the deontological ethical system would be far better, since the greater good of the many is being recognized.  Noble cause corruption is only rightful if the goal is for overall crime control.  


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