Find a crime or a court case that interests you and has taken place within the last 30 days.
Discussions are 500 words each
Discussion 1: Understanding the differences between natural law, biblical law, and human law can be confusing at first; therefore, a few definitions and a brief discussion of each will be a helpful start to this assignment. First, natural law is God’s revealed truth about morality outside of Scripture (the Bible). He “established the laws of heaven and earth” (New International Version, 1978/2011, Jeremiah 33:25). It is not a code of law, but rather moral principles that are applied universally. These are objective, transcendent moral truths. God created humanity in His image (Genesis 1:27) with an innate moral sense. We were made to know God and to have a relationship with him. When humans decided to act immorally (this is what sin is), God gave them biblical laws to help restrain immorality, to magnify the human condition. You will find over 600 biblical laws in the first five books of the Bible (sometimes referred to as the Torah, the Pentateuch, or the Laws of Moses). These laws were instructions that point to the ideal. Humans, as well, set up their own rules to regulate the actions of those whom they govern (these rules are our written laws). Murder, for example, is an immoral act that violates natural law, biblical law, and human law, but some immoral acts (sins) do not violate human law. Thus, human law does not necessarily define morality. To assess whether a behavior is moral or not, evaluate the act, which includes the motive, the consequences, and the character of the actor. Natural law applies to all people and provides the foundation for a standard of morality on which all human law ought to be based.
The law (human law) indicates the minimum level of our moral obligation to society. It provides the boundaries for moral (acceptable) behavior (not our moral beliefs). Therefore, behavior is considered a crime when essential elements (harm, legality, actus reus, mens rea, causation, concurrence, and punishment) are present. (Defined in your textbook are these seven elements of a crime.)
For this Discussion, you will be studying a criminal act from a legal and a moral position. Find a crime or a court case that interests you and has taken place within the last 30 days. (The documented court case or criminal act must have occurred within the last 30 days. Place a link to the article or court case at the bottom of your paper.)
- First, provide a concise description of the crime. (What happened?) In your explanation, identify and discuss the seven elements of a crime (i.e., harm, legality, actus reus, mens rea, causation, concurrence, and punishment) as they specifically pertain to your crime. (If some of these essential elements are not present, discuss their absence).
- Second, since the suspect or defendant’s behavior in the crime that you have selected was deemed criminal, we know that this person violated some level of moral responsibility to society. You are to discuss why the suspect or defendant’s behavior was morally wrong.
The following information may help guide your discussion.
When morally assessing a behavior, we are to consider the rationale for the act. What conceivable motive did the suspect or defendant have for this crime? (Since you do not know what the defendant was thinking, this will be a reasonable guess.) Base your moral assessment on facts, not opinions. (Moral truths are not matters of personal perspectives, but rather inferences based on facts. Moral assessments are objective, based on facts, not subjective, based on feelings.) Next, give thought to the consequences (the harm) of the violation. (Perhaps there was an infringement of someone’s unalienable rights or constitutional rights.) Lastly, consider the applicability of the law to the behavior. Perhaps you do not believe the behavior was morally wrong, but rather the law was unjustified. (An unjustifiable law could be one that forces someone to do something that violates their religious beliefs. An example would be a law that forces a doctor to perform abortions.)
Discussion: Law, Sin, and Crime Resources
- Crime News Daily (Links to an external site.) https://crimedaily.com/
- Crime Online (Links to an external site.) https://www.crimeonline.com/
- Oxygen (Links to an external site.)
- HuffPost Crime (Links to an external site.)
- True Crime Daily (Links to an external site.)
- The Guardian (Links to an external site.)
- Investigation Discovery Crime Feed (Links to an external site.)
- Crime Traveller (Links to an external site.)
- NBC News Crime & Courts (Links to an external site.)
- Google News: Crime
Discussion 2: FBI
Congratulations! You are the new Police Chief in a rather large city where an officer-involved shooting occurred less than one year ago. Your officer shot and killed an unarmed man, but a jury acquitted the officer of all charges in the shooting. The announced verdict generated an uptick in crime in your city, resulting in a Department now engaged in de-policing. (See the Learn item Read: The Assailant Study – Mindsets and Behaviors.) Due to the lack of community support, over 30% of your officers have either resigned or retired. Your city operates under a council-manager form of government composed of a mayor and six council members (all elected positions).
Before you even had a chance to put your coffee mug on your new desk, your administrative assistant ran into your office yelling, “they’re here!” You find out that a protest march is underway, with numerous reporters working their way through the melee. Your community has lost trust in your Police Department and the local court system, and they are demanding that you do something. The City Council members make their way into your office. Weary of your Department’s ineffectiveness, the City Council members want to discuss reallocating funding away from your Department to other local government agencies. One newly appointed council member has already voted to deny a departmental request for much-needed replacement body armor.
With all this in mind, you pause a moment and say, “Good to see you all. You saved me a phone call. Come, let’s sit down and discuss what we can do to help our community.”
Based on the above scenario, respond to the following questions:
- As a Police Chief and a servant of God, you need to help restore order to your community while safeguarding officer protection. First, discuss the steps you would take to help develop a good working relationship with the City Council members.
- Second, your attention now turns to your officers. As an experienced leader, you know that your officers need guidance and support. To lessen the use of force, your officers require training in procedural justice: when police officers deliberately engage with citizens in a considerate, supportive, or comforting manner. Discuss your long-term plan for your Department with your officers.
Discussion 3: Thread: You will participate in a thought experiment for this discussion by allowing biblical thinking to serve as a blueprint for criminal justice practices, imagining a system that administers justice through restoration rather than retribution.
First, we need to rethink biblical law. Set aside the notion of biblical law as strict rules and punishments meant to deter crime and understand it better as instruction, warning, and guidance intended to imbue wisdom and discernment, leading to life-giving principles of justice. The majority of legal teaching in the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) favors reconciliation between the offender and the victim. Remedies for more serious crimes (felonies) included capital punishment but excluded confinement (incapacitation)- much different from today’s mass incarceration trend. According to biblical thinking, restitution is the appropriate remedy for lesser crimes.
Restorative justice closely resembles biblical thinking since it focuses on the wrongdoer and the wronged: the victims, offenders, family members, the community, and others. Those involved in or by the offense identify the harms, needs, and obligations to bring healing- to make things right. Restorative justice starts with the victim’s needs broadening to the others involved. Like biblical thinking, restorative justice does not absolve offender responsibility or require victim forgiveness.
Describe possible resolutions to the following three crimes by applying the above-described principles of restorative justice.
A young mother in a rural community drives her car near a forest area, throws her infant down the side of the road bank, and drives away. An elderly couple living nearby hears the infant’s cries, the wife calls 911, and the husband searches for and finds the baby alive and well.
A respected owner and founder of a well-established funeral home in the community retires, leaving the business to his son. The son gambles with customer money for headstone and grave marker orders, driving the business into bankruptcy.
A married man and father to two precious little girls starts an adulterous affair and murders his wife and daughters to begin his new life.
Assignment 1 : Application Essay: Limited Governmental Powers Assignment
Assignment 2: Application Essay: Police Discretion, Use of Force, and De-escalation Assignment
Assignment 3: Application Essay: What Does Justice Look Like? Assignment
Assignment 4: Application Essay: Mass Sup
Requirements: 500 each
Answer preview for the “Find a crime or a court case that interests you and has taken place within the last 30 days.” essay…………………
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