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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 97193 Find in a Library
Title: Deadly Force - An Ethical Analysis
Author(s): F A Ellison
Corporate Author: Hindelang Criminal Justice Research Ctr
State University of New York at Albany
United States of America
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 27
Sponsoring Agency: Hindelang Criminal Justice Research Ctr
Albany, NY 12222
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A review of the literature on capital punishment is used to identify the moral factors that should be considered in developing a defensible policy for police use of deadly force.
Abstract: Moral issues in the debate surrounding capital punishment are also relevant to the police use of deadly force. First, consistency requires that the principles used to defend the right of the state to take a citizen's life apply equally to both capital punishment and police homicides. Second, because deadly force is itself a form of punishment, its treatment in any thorough discussion of capital punishment is essential. Third, viewing police use of deadly force as similar to, if not identical with, capital punishment provides moral insight profitable for the debate on police use of deadly force. Six major factors which must be considered in regard to capital punishment: (1) justice, (2) social defense, (3) fallibility or irrevocability, (4) sanctity of human life, (5) due process, and (6) contemporary moral standards. These also apply to police use of deadly force. If retentionist arguments for capital punishment are extended to police use of deadly force, the need for a balancing test is clear: any policy must be formulated on the grounds of compelling reasons for overriding individual rights to further the common good. If the abolitionist arguments against capital punishment are applied to the police policy on use of dealy force, a citizen's fundamental rights and the sanctity of human life are emphasized. Repeal of the common law rule which permits police use of deadly force is urged. Included are 21 references.
Index Term(s): Capital punishment; Code of ethics; Literature reviews; Police policy development; Police use of deadly force
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