Obtaining the Confession


The central ethical issue in this arises whether the use deceptive practices to obtain confessions from suspects is right or not. Deceptive practices are commonly used by the police to deceive suspects for a reward; in the process of this the subject is likely give confessions to a crime. To the police it is perceived that it is the best humane way to obtain information in today’s world. From the ethical point of view, it is not considered right since the suspect is feed with false information full of promises that in most cases are never kept by the police officers. The police believe that an innocent individual can never confess to a crime they never committed. This is just a general idea that may never apply to all individual hence considered professionally unethical.

Some police officers deliver the Miranda warnings with monotone voice and perfunctory, this raises an ethical issue as the sense and meaning of the Miranda warnings to the suspect may seem to be just a formality. Most of the offenses claimed to have been committed con be misrepresented. Sylvester Smoot’s character bring out the ethical issue of how  right or wrong can one be if he is  involved in forceful sex with minors, in other words rape of children. Rape is a vice in the society and such people should not be left on the loose in the society unless they have fully reformed.

Without enough evidence the police officers cannot arrest a suspect this raises ethics concerns on what is morally right to be done despite the legal implications on those actions on the same instance protecting the rights of the suspects while avoiding death of the boy in this case. An ethical dilemma arises without substantial evidence; rights of the suspect, Chief Jones’ duties and loyalties clash. None of given solution satisfies every party involved, Chief Jones’ understanding on the basic ethical theories will be important in giving the officers an elusive answer  based on the available information on the case.


Ronald Kitchen in January 1988 was arrested and subjected to physical torture where he confessed to murder. He was jailed for life; but in July 2010 all the charges were lifted and he filed charges on the Chicago police for torture. This example gives a broad picture on how courts use the powers of confession to enact criminal law (Braswell, R.McCarthy and McCarthy). In Brown vs Mississippi (1936) as per the Fourth Amendment torture is against the suspects’ rights and the confessions obtained in due process are void. Change in tactics to secure more confessions was experienced where deception was used leading to Miranda warnings in 1966 by the Miranda vs Arizona of the Fifth Amendment. This has resulted to the deceptive interrogation practices now being used to interrogate suspects (Braswell, R.McCarthy and McCarthy).

In Frazier v. Cupp (1969) the police had lied to the suspect of his co-culprit had confessed this made the confession invalid because it was not given involuntarily by the suspect. This proves that no matter how far the police may go in accessing confessions through deception there will always be a rule of law acting against it as it is not morally right and more so unprofessional in one way or another (Scheb and II). If a police officer poses as a drug use and for several months the officer wants to by illegal items from a target, if at one point in time the target sells the same items to the undercover officer. Ethical debates may suggest that the undercover officer might be the one who creates the crime in the fast instance and the target would just be helping a friend (Marx, 1991).


Stakeholders Options
Arrest warrant No warrant granted Tracking and surveillance Active intelligence seeking
Chief Rod Jones & team The team should follow the protocol arrest the offender search the premises for evidence and take him to court for judgment. The police should look for other suspects in the neighborhoods or extend their search for the boy. This is the use of electronic devices both audio and visual to collect data on the activities of the suspect; it may also involve satellite tracking of the individual. They shall be trailing the suspect seeking for any evidence and with the assistance of the social community safety officers and the community at large they shall collect information on the suspect.
Mickey Capps If the allegations are true then the boy shall be saved. Then taken to hospital. For tests if there is any sexual harassment as evidences No justice and his life still remain in danger. There shall be hopes to be for him found and the offender be taken to court. There shall be hopes to be for him found and the offender be taken to court
Sylvester Smoot Shall be arrested if any evidence is found linking him with the crime, he shall be answerable in a court of law He will still be on the loose and may continue to harm the more children in the neighborhood. Shall l be on the lookout and actively has to improve his tactics to avoid being caught. Might lose friends and family of his support as they will not be comfortable living and associating themselves with a suspect.

(Beech, Craig and Browne)


Consequential Ethical Theory –it provides that whatever that is perceived as good other than evil is morally right. Actions are rated by the impact of their consequences. If an action is to be of high value so do to its outcome. Consequential ethics insists on the following; what are the main results of each action are they constructive or destructive? What action has the least harm and who may enjoy it? All this questions are fully answered by the consequential ethics theory.

1a. Rule Utilitarianism has the perception that the value of an action is measurable by only the cumulative advantages. It supports were the majority is on the gaining end of a solution. It has five components the first is welfarism where only in itself something has its own value a good example is happiness or well-being. Second is consequentialist where only the consequences determine a right or a wrong individually. Thirdly, it consists of the maximizing power where the consequence of an action must be of high value. The forth component is value monism where anything having its own value in it in a way that the other values are reducible to this worth. Lastly is the value commensurability where a standard measure of which others can be ordered (Pojman and Fieser).

1b.The Rule Utilitarianism can be used to make a perfect decision in a case by taking the most valuable action which for this case is the granting of the arrest warrant. Because this is the only lead available for the boy to be brought back home, it is likely that the majority of the implications are to be gained if such action is taken as the only person who is not to benefit is Smoot “the sex predator”. It is also advisable that for the Boy’s life to be saved and time should be managed well meaning the other possible solutions like surveillance might give the suspect more time to clean up the evidence and as well endangering the life of  Mickey.

Non-Consequential Ethical Theory – it does not support the idea that the consequences of any actions are the only way of knowing the morally rights and wrongs. Here the morality of an action is determined to the action itself. For instance in a hospital every patient has a totally different case from the other even if the disease diagnosed is the same for a number of them. This means that different groups of people perceive moral right is in many different ways at any given moment and for any given setting,

2a. Kantianism (Deontology): Deontology is an ethical theory where duties influence a decision, the rightness of a decision depends on the importance of a duty or duties on the partaking  and the positive impacts reflected by the same duties (Brooks and Dunn.). It is not based on the rewards, consequences or happiness (Hill and Zweig).

2b.In the case above Kantianism may be included as the efforts of the police in search of Mickey Capps involve the duties of Chief Rod Jones team. The right decision is where there is more duties to be performed and there should be engagement of more officers in order for the choice to be ethically right as expected by the society. For this case the best duty to be assigned is for the arrest warrant to be issued. This is basically meant to increase duties like the searching of the suspect’s premises and the interrogation process to kick off in order to save the boy’s life.

Decision Making

On the basis of motive and capabilities of the suspect the best decision can be arrived through testing all the situations of the stakeholders, consequences as per the benefits and losses that may be incurred if it fails, the duties and rights involved in the decision process. The social and personal justice to the parties involved in the case. Virtues of ethics expected after the decision is made. The best decision is to grant the arrest warrant considering the fundamental interests of the stake holders in the case (Brooks and Dunn.).


There is the possibility that the suspect may not be guilty of the offence. And this may ruin the whole investigation as the police have to find other new leads and suspects. To counterargument to the same, the suspect has a clear motive to kidnap the boy, he has been a convict for the same offences and he has all the motives to commit such a crime. Secondly the police could have possibly have a different suspect, therefore if Smoot appears alone on the list the in is possible to conclude that the best course of action taken is to arrest and perform the deceptive activities to get a confession from Smoot.

Will deception be the best way to obtain a confession from Mr. Smoot? This is basically answered as all the leads of the case of the lost boy or upon him, with the kind of man he is in the society, the motives of his set of mind and the proximity to the crime area as a neighbor subject him to being a prime suspect. This means that even before the interrogations begin there is more evidence to link him to the crime.

Could there be a possibility that the other options would also work, to support the choice made the benefits are more than the costs when compared with the rest of the possible decisions for example active intelligence seeking and tracking and surveillance as the all need more time, money for equipments like tape recorders and cameras as well as more human resources to follow him during intelligence collection.


Ethics is an essential in decision making process; it ensures that the decisions made are morally right and should always reflect the well being of the affected community. One should be well informed on the theories and other basic concepts in ethics that focus of one making the right steps in a community. Unethical behaviors occur often at any level of management in an organization even when there are right plans and ethical procedures in place. Many high level workers in both government and private organization make unethical decisions daily knowingly or unintentionally despite the company’s policies provided and as well revised every now and then to fit the dynamic society today.

Social ethics and social responsibility are two things in one. The ethics of a company might remain the same throughout the company’s branches all over the world yet the cultures and moral ethics vary with countries. This is why the police in particular should be in the fore front to ensure that the choices they make when protecting the community and while handling the suspects are ethically right, this ensures that everyone it treated fairly in the courts of law.

Ethics also do exist in religion and culture and whenever this two aspects meet there is always a clash on what is considered as morally right or wrong. This is because the two components in a society mostly have different notions and believes that always having conflicting points of view of the same issue. Learning how to make ethical decisions help people be able to solve the problems in such a society in a way that the majority of the members of that society shall remain comfortable and royal to those decisions. Inter-religion decisions can also be a complex task to perform and this gives the necessity for one to be able to know how to guide both parties in the community thus avoiding violence between them as it is being experienced in some parts of the world today.