Separation of Roles in Justice System, Ethics and Morality and Police Interrogation

Why do we separate the roles within the justice system? Explain the importance of having a separation of authority, roles, and responsibilities in the Justice system.

Separating the authorities of the various players within the justice system serves the purpose of protecting individual liberty. Having separation of authority, roles, and responsibilities in the justice system protects individual liberty by requiring multiple, diverse actors to agree that an individual is guilty before being convicted of a crime. The various key players within the justice system include law enforcement, prosecution, defence counsel, judiciary, probation, institutional corrections, and parole. Notably, Separation of authority helps prevent concentration of unchecked power on one or some players. As a result, it provides checks and balances that prevent abuse of power (Mayeux, 2018). The justice system’s effectiveness in protecting individual liberty is directly related to the adequate balancing of authority, roles, and responsibilities of all the players within the system.

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Why is criminal investigation interrogation handled mostly by the police rather than the judiciary or corrections?

            Interrogations are handled mainly by police rather than the judiciary or corrections because the separation of authority informs the distinction in roles and responsibilities. The judiciary’s role is to punish the guilty and vindicate the innocent, while that of corrections is to correct the behaviour of those found guilty of crimes. It is the role of police to build a solid case before presenting it in a court of law, hence why they handle criminal investigation interrogation (Mayeux, 2018).

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Another reason that police and not judiciary or corrections mainly hold interrogations is that the process is, in most part, outside the governance of law. There are well established and elaborate safeguards on law enforcement interrogatory powers. However, police training and competence allow them to work successfully within the set limits. The safeguards allows police officers to interrogate suspects in a civilized and non-coercive fashion. However, the police officer(s) conducting the interrogation must inform the suspect of his rights to remain silent. The police must also inform the suspect of their right to have legal counsel present during the interrogation (Braswell, McCarthy, & McCarthy, 2017).

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Explain how morality and ethics affect Police interrogation practices.

            Interrogations are built on information collected by all possible sources. The interrogators strive to gather and verify the information by techniques and approaches with the most significant probability of obtaining reliable and valid facts. Given the need to convict criminals, interrogators might find themselves tempted to use unethical means to obtain evidence. However, despite the urging need to convict criminals, it is imperative to undergird interrogation on ethical and moral standards. Interrogation morality and ethics balance the rights of interrogators and those of suspects. Morality and ethics help police understand that it is morally wrong to use unethical means to pursue morally right ends (Braswell, McCarthy, & McCarthy, 2017).

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Notably, ethical behavior in the course of interrogation is based on knowing the distinction between morality and legality. An interrogator is solely responsible for the interrogation techniques applied; their conscience serves as the benchmark. Despite how unsavory personality of the accused or their alleged offense, an interrogator must adhere to ethical standards. Without a solid moral underpinning, interrogators might find themselves inclined to use unethical approaches or techniques to extract information from suspects (Baggini, 2019). Thus, morality and ethics significantly affect police interrogation practices by allowing interrogators to operate under the principle of due process undergirded by morality, and ethics is more important than a conviction.

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Explain how a police ethics code informs Police interrogation practices.

            Two principles of the police code of ethics inform police interrogation practices. First, the principle regarding the use of force. The principle dictates that a police officer should not use unnecessary force while discharging his/her duty. Police officers should use force only when persuasion, negotiation, discussion, or greatest restrain have proved ineffective. An interrogation should incorporate discussion and persuasion; hence, using violent techniques such as interrogatory torture is not necessary. Thus, the police ethics code can help police avoid using interrogatory torture. Notably, torture is not only a counterproductive method of gathering information as it provides suspects profound reason to lie but is also unethical (Baggini, 2019). Therefore, the police code of ethics informs interrogators not to use force when interrogating suspects.        

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Second, the principle of integrity. The principle asserts that an officer will not engage in actions that do not uphold integrity. A police officer with integrity cannot use manipulation, deception, and coercion to gather information during an interrogation process. When interrogators use manipulation and play tricks on suspects, sincere truth-finding is lost; hence the process becomes unethical. By relying on the police ethics code, interrogators can extract information using a legally and morally right approach such as rapport-based interrogation. The approach provides suspects with a significant deal of autonomy and does not violate their individual rights. An interrogator who upholds the principle of integrity does not use threatening, psychologically coercive, demeaning, or minimizing behavior to gather information during interrogation since they understand that such techniques defy their integrity (Baggini, 2019). Thus, the police code of ethics prevents interrogators from using unethical methods and techniques during interrogation.

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