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Identify moral issues/dilemma

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Jessie Kristen finally hangs her diploma. It took her four years of college, three years of law school and 6 months of preparation to pass her bar exam. Now she finally has her dream job. She is an assistant public defender. Her friends make fun of her for not going with a high paying firm, but she always wanted to work in criminal law and wanted to help out those who couldn't afford the expensive attorneys. She is doing what she always wanted to do and is making enough money to support her family. One of Jessie's first cases involves a young defendant. Oliver Kat lives in a poor neighborhood. He holds a good job and helps support his mother, brother and sisters.

A neighborhood deli was held up at gunpoint. The owner ran out with the gun and pointed it at Oliver. The owner claimed that Oliver was the robber. Oliver stated that he was returning home from work. He said that he did not rob the store and had no idea why this man was pointing a gun at him. In response, the owner said that he was sure Oliver was the robber and added, "All the kids in this neighborhood are thugs, they've all committed some crime; they should all be thrown in jail". Oliver was arrested.

Jessie is dong everything she can to prove Oliver's innocence. However, this takes time and money. As an assistant public defender Jessie handles approximately two hundred cases on a daily basis. She must try to make time for her family and her other 199 cases.

Jessie's first formal meeting with her supervisor is at 12:00 noon. Jessie's supervisor, Terry Long has been with the public defender's office for twenty-eight years. Terry is sick of the job and makes it known that she plans to retire with full pension in less than two years. Terry takes Jessie to lunch to tell Jessie how she expects her to act as an assistant public defender. Jessie is a little nervous and immediately knocks the saltshaker all over the table. Jessie thinks "Great, bad luck," as she cleans it up the mess. Terry asks Jessie about her caseload. Jessie tells her of her worries that she is not keeping up, since she has two hundred cases. Jessie discusses Oliver's case in particular. Terry Long states, "You better keep up or you will be fired." Jessie argues that she wants to do a good job. Terry tells her not to take this too seriously, "These people have no money, they don't matter; jail is a luxury hotel to them. Just get the work done. Plea bargain this Oliver character. No one will ever believe his story anyway."

Jessie is shocked and tells Terry that she is surprised that a person in her position would feel this way. Terry states, "At our office everyone feels this way. If you plan to be one of us, you better too. If you want to last you better work fast and forget about caring so much. You're an idiot if you think you have the luxury of being thorough. Plea-bargaining is the way we always do it to get the job done. Either learn how to play the game or say good-bye to that monthly paycheck." Terry sees the angry look on Jessie's face, so goes on, "I am just helping you out by giving you this information. We women have to stick together in this male oriented job. I have a family too. I know how important it is to spend time with your family, so be smart, keep your mouths shut and get the job done quickly. Oh, and remember, even though this is how things run, we still have to "act" like we care".

Jessie left the meeting disillusioned. She did not know what to do. At that time she received a call from the prosecutor's office telling her if Oliver would plead guilty they would lessen the charge and he would spend only a few months in jail, maybe even probation. Jessie immediately informed Oliver of the offer, but did not give her opinion of the offer. Oliver stated that he did not do anything wrong and does not want to say he did, however, he trusts Jessie and will do what she thinks is best. Jessie does not know what to say. If he pleads guilty he will have an arrest record, will probably lose his job, his family will not have the money they need and will get evicted from their small apartment and end up on the streets. But, if she doesn't end this case now, it will take too much time to fully investigate and she will lose her job! Without her paycheck her family will lose their home, will have to move in with her parents, this will cause constant tension and she and her husband will end up divorced. She tells Oliver she will call him back.

Jessie is now called to the second meeting of the day, this one with Jake Justice, the public defender, she enters his large office for what Jessie knows is just a mandatory, introductory meeting, but she is scared when she sees Terry is also there. Is she already on her bad side? Jake smiles at her and asks how things are going. Before, Jessie can answer he goes on to state how the clients are the most important thing and should get treated with the utmost respect and all cases should be handles with diligence, (quite the opposite of Terry's picture). Jake goes on to tell her that anyone who is not representing the clients to the best of their ability should find another job and if Jessie discovers any employee who is not doing their best, she has a mandatory responsibility to report that person to him immediately. Jessie is considering telling Jake of Terry's statements. At that moment Terry puts her hand on Jessie's shoulder and says, "I am sure she will be one of the best. We have already had a great discussion and I told her that thoroughness and caring for our clients is our number one concern."

When Terry and Jessie leave the meeting Jessie questions Terry's comment. Terry states, "Like I said, "act" like you care - and keep your mouth shut."

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Solution Preview

Five moral issues or dilemmas that can be identified in the passage include the following. But before we discuss them, note why they are issues of moral concern. They are called moral issues or dilemmas because each of them calls for a decision making between two options. And any decision that one makes may also come with more enduring consequences either on the part of the subject /decision maker, i.e. Jessie Kristen on the one hand, or her clients or her fellow worker(s) or her job on the other.

1. In the first place, given the time, money and energy spent on her education, Jessie Kristen is faced with the challenge of the ridicule from her friends. So she is faced with the dilemma of either to keep her dream job or to listen to her friends and find a new job that will ...

Solution Summary

This job finds moral issues/dilemmas.