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Elements Of Discretion In Criminal Justice

In this assignment, you will explain the role of discretion in criminal justice. You will also describe the roles integrity, authority, discretionary power, and morality play in discretionary decision making.

In Modules One and Two, you learned about discretion in criminal justice decision making, and about the relationship between integrity, authority, and discretionary power. In this module, you learned about the role morality plays in the decision-making process. You will now apply this knowledge to an instance of discretionary decision making you have seen in the media, which was the focus of the Module One discussion. This application of knowledge will help you prepare for Project One in Module Five, in which you will be creating a written internal justification statement for a discretionary decision you make in response to a scenario.

First, explain the role of discretion in criminal justice.
Next, describe the instance from the Module One discussion in detail, providing background information surrounding the discretionary decision. (You may use your initial post from the Module One discussion board to help you with this.)
Then, choose one element and describe the role it plays in the discretionary decision-making process in general:
Discretionary power
Last, explain how that same element chosen above (integrity, authority, discretionary power, or morality) may have affected the discretionary decision made in the instance provided.
Specifically, the following rubric criteria must be addressed:

Explain the role of discretion in criminal justice.
Describe an instance of discretionary decision making you have seen in the media.
Describe the role one element (integrity, authority, discretionary power, or morality) plays in discretionary decision making in general.
Explain how one element (integrity, authority, discretionary power, or morality) may have affected the discretionary decision made in the instance provided.

My initial post in  module 1 discussion post

Hi everyone, My name is Ludis Keon. I was born on the beautiful Caribbean island of St. Kitts and Nevis. I’m a proud mother of three amazing children and a grandmother to a beautiful little girl. I’m an island girl aspiring to enjoy the American dream and all that it has to offer. I have traveled a lot and lived in many States and Caribbean Islands. I’ve lived with my cousin most of my life who’s in the military thus traveling and moving a lot. I’ve traveled the entire Caribbean and most of Europe including France, Paris, and Spain. I also have family living in those places.  Currently am residing in Florida. I have decided to go back to school to further my education so that I can move further in my career. As I work and raise my last two children I decided to go to school online as it fits best with my schedule and life.

Am interested in criminal justice because I want to make a difference. I have a love for the field and some experience working as a correctional officer. I believe in protecting others and giving back to the community. It gives me the opportunity to get into the minds of the criminal to get an understanding of how they think. I can also help victims of crimes and support them. Informing them of programs and services showing them they’re not alone on the journey and getting victims to also come forward.

How does the media influence criminal justice?

Newspapers, radio, television, and new media not only spread information, but also help to determine what topics and stories people talk about. Many crimes receive extensive media coverage, which provides a challenge for prosecutors, as well as defendants and defense attorneys when it comes to trying a case.
Discretion begins with the decision to label certain acts as criminal and is followed by a series of subsequent decisions made by police officers, judges, prosecutors, and others. As a result, the objective ideal gives way to individual personal judgment, both in a collective sense and in an organizational sense. This occurs because the organizational structure of the criminal justice system is bureaucratic. Such structures are governed by formal rules which tend to be informally implemented. How rules, regulations, and the law are implemented is determined by the role perception of the implementers, their ideological orientation, and demographic characteristics. A greater understanding of the role of discretion, its achievements, and shortcomings will permit better regulation of it. Its major drawback is that such decisions are essentially unreveiwable and have a significant potential for being arbitrary and capricious. In addition, many decisions are heavily influenced by the internal values, goals, and purposes of the various units within the system. Both politicians and the public, through their interactions with one another and with the criminal justice system, influence its operation. These complex interactions are to be expected in a democratic society, where laws provide a basis for action but do not define it.
I’m writing on Breonna Taylor incident.
Breonna Taylor was 26 year old hospital worker, who was shot and killed by officers who stormed her home just after midnight while she was with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. Federal investigators say that three of the four officers conspired to falsify the arrest warrant that led to Ms Taylor’s death.
Only one officer involved in the raid – former Louisville detective Brett Hankison – had been previously charged over the case. He was the only one of the four indicted who was present at the scene of Ms. Taylor’s shooting.

Mr. Hankison, who fired 10 shots during the raid, was acquitted by a jury earlier this year of endangering Ms. Taylor’s neighbors when some of the bullets he fired entered their home. The other officers charged by the Department of Justice are Joshua Jaynes, also a fired officer, and serving officers Kelly Hanna Goodlett and Kyle Meany. Louisville police say they are trying to fire Mr Meany and Ms Goodlett. The federal indictment announced by Attorney General Merrick Garland accuses the four of civil rights offenses, unlawful conspiracy, unconstitutional use of force, and obstruction. Mr. Meany and Mr. Jaynes are alleged to have violated Ms. Taylor’s civil rights by preparing a false search warrant affidavit. Ms Goodlett allegedly conspired with Mr Jaynes to falsify the warrant. Mr Hankison is accused of civil rights offenses for firing his service weapon into Ms Taylor’s apartment through a covered window and glass door.

“The search warrant obtained by police included Ms Taylor’s name and address. Authorities suspected her ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, a convicted drug trafficker, had used her apartment to hide narcotics or money. No drugs were found at the property, though Jefferson County Prosecutor Thomas Wine said the search had been canceled after the shooting. The warrant, which was signed by Mr Jaynes, said that police had confirmed packages for Glover were being sent to Ms Taylor. Investigators say they later discovered that police had never confirmed this with the postal inspector, as claimed on the warrant.

According to prosecutors, Mr Jaynes and Ms Goodlett met in a parking garage days after the shooting to arrange a cover story to justify the falsified evidence that led to the warrant. In 2020, the Taylor family sued Louisville police and reached a $12m (£9m) settlement.

Breonna Taylor should be alive today, had the police done the right thing and do it the legal way. Look how their actions caused so many others life to turn upside down. Had they not lied and forged documents the whole thing would’ve never happened. The false search warrant was able to put them where they wanted to be to get the evidence they claimed to be there. They could’ve easily gone to the post office to speak to the post master general to verify if the boyfriend was in fact sending packages to the address to Ms. Taylor.

The four officers conducted a bunch of civil rights offenses, unlawful conspiracy, unconstitutional use of force, and obstruction. Even after they lied and killed an innocent person they still conspired to lie to cover up their wrong doings. At what point does one accept the fact that they messed up and just admit it and deal with consequences instead of furthering the situation to try to get the outcome they desire? Had the officers kept to the oath they swore to up keep we wouldn’t have been here.

Bureau of Justice Statistics (.gov) › justice-system

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