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Criminal Justice: Lying and Deception

There are occasional instances in which no clear line separates acceptable behavior from that which is unacceptable.

1. Discuss briefly the ethical issues involved with the use of lying and deception to further the goals of the justice process, and the possible uses of deception within the criminal justice system.
2. As a criminal justice employee is there ever a situation in which lying would be appropriate? What would be your response if your police partner lied, for example, to a narcotics suspect in order to get a confession?

Solution Preview

Please see response attached, which is also presented below. I also attached a highly informative article for consideration. I also provided extra links at the end of this response for further research and reading.

RESPONSE:

Interesting questions! Let us take a closer look through discussion and examples.

1. As a criminal justice employee is there ever a situation in which lying would be appropriate?

The line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior (lying and deception) is blurry. And, even though many of us might argue strongly against using coercion through lying and deception, lying and deception is in fact approved and accepted in certain areas of the CJS (investigation and interrogations). For example, research suggest that while lying is approved in investigation, and viewed as necessary in interrogation, perjury is not formally condoned. But although the rules are clear that lying is not permitted in testimony in court, it is generally accepted that police lie under oath and regularly commit perjury (Barker & Carter, 1990). How do you feel about perjury? Many police officers' think that if it is a means to an end, this too is acceptable. I strongly disagree.

However, would you agree to use lying and deception during interrogation and investigation to get to the truth or to get a confession? Many do. In fact, research suggests that many lies and deceptive tactics (some more subtle than others) are used in interrogation to get a confession (see examples below), albeit it also provokes many false confessions. However, it is a matter of personal convictions and values (a question of ethics) as to whether or not you would agree to use deception and lies in investigation to collect evidence or in interrogation to get a confession. For example, for some criminal justice employees using deception and lying is commonplace and acceptable as a means to an end, and is encouraged as ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the ethical issues involved with the use of lying and deception to further the goals of the justice process, and the possible uses of deception within the criminal justice system. And, as a criminal justice employee, this solution discusses if there is ever a situation in which lying would be appropriate and how a person would respond if her or his police partner lied, for example, to a narcotics suspect in order to get a confession. Supplemented with an informative article on the confessions and police interrogation techniques.

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