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Ethical Decision Paper

In: Social Issues

Submitted By lmlandry
Words 867
Pages 4
Terrence Lathan
Ethical Dilemma
CJS 211
Kathryn Fenner
May 25, 2015

Ethical Dilemma On the evening of February 26th, 2012 17th year old Trayvon Martin lost his life after being shot by George Zimmerman during a scuffle. At the time Zimmerman was not charged by the Sanford Police, due to no evidence to counter Zimmerman claim that it was self-defense and that Florida’s stand your ground law barred law enforcement officials from arresting as well as charging him. According to “Wikipedia” (2015), “ In the U.S., a stand your ground law is a law that authorizes a person to protect and defend one’s own life and limb against threat or perceived threat. The laws states that an individual has no duty to retreat from any place he or she has a lawful right to be and may use any level of force, including lethal, if he or she reasonably believes he or she faces an imminent and immediate threat of serious bodily harm or death” (Wikipedia, 2015). Eventually a jury acquitted Zimmerman in 2013. The Sanford Police stating that the Florida’s stand your ground law prohibited law enforcement officials from arresting Zimmerman as well as charging him shined light on another case in Florida. A 31 year old single mother name Marissa Alexander was prosecuted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and given 20 years in prison. Marissa Alexander went to retrieve her personal items from her abusive estranged husband’s home when he came home. While in the home she claimed that her husband threatened her. Marissa Alexander tried to leave through the garage but claimed that the door would not open. She retrieved her gun and went back into the house where you fired a warning shot and injured no one.be Marissa Alexander had no previous criminal history nor any arrest and pursued Self-Defense Immunity. State prosecutor Angela Corey who also the prosecutor on the Treyvon Martin case offered her a plea deal for three years. However, believing that she acted in self-defense and was within the confines of the stand your ground law she did not take the deal and went to trial. In just 12 minutes she was convicted by the jury and given 20 years based off of Florida’s 10-20-Life minimum statute. The jury while away for the 12 minutes deciding on Marissa Alexander case identified the problem, identified the issues involved, reviewed the relevant ethical guidelines, were aware of the laws and regulations that were relevant, obtained consultation, took in consideration the possible and probable courses of action, listed the consequences of the probable course of action and decided on what appeared to be the best course of action. Marissa Alexander had endangered her estranged husband and his children that were present. Due to Marissa not being attacked but only feeling threatened and going to retrieve her gun and coming back in and firing the gun towards what was considered innocent bystanders the jury gave Marissa the amount of time that they felt fit the crime. After 1,030 days in prison and the possibility of a 60 year sentence Marissa Alexander accepted a pled deal that would set her free in January 2015. The plea deal consisted of Marissa Alexander pleading guilty of aggravated assault of three counts and sentenced to three years in prison. She had already served 1,030 days and would have to spend 65 more days incarcerated before she would be free. Free from prison but put on house arrest for two years while wearing a monitor. Although Marissa Alexander’s release could be look at as a relief it is far from victorious. Marissa, her children and family will avoid the stress, expense and emotional rollercoaster now that she is out. The will also avoid having to sit through a trial where Prosecutor Angela Corey said that she would have three cases of aggravated assault and she would serve 60 years instead of 20 years. In some eyes Marissa Alexander’s case was seen as a victim of abuse who shot off a warning sign to scare off her estranged husband and was punished and justice did not prevail. In others eyes she was an individual that claimed to be threatened that went to her vehicle to retrieve a weapon and reenter her estranged husband’s home and shot a warning shot towards him and his children. There will always be a debate on whether or not the decision made to put Marissa Alexander in prison and later letting her out by accepting a plea deal was ethical. The answer although many believe they know the answer really lies with the juror and what their ethical beliefs were and are.

Reference
Wikipedia. (2015). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand-your-ground_law
Salon. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.salon.com/2014/11/24/marissa_alexander_accepts_plea_deal_is_expected_to_be_released _in january/
Beekun, R. I., Hamdy, R., Westerman, J. W., & Hassabelnaby, H. R. (2008). An exploration of ethical decision-making processes in the United States and Egypt Journal of Business Ethics, 82(3), 587- 605.
Braswell, M. C., McCarthy, B. R., & McCarthy, B. J. (2012). Justice, Crime, and Ethics (7th ed.). Burlington, MA; Anderson Publishing.…...

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