MJ651 Ethics and Justice
Stand-Alone Project: Ethical Perspectives on Contemporary Legal Issues (200 points)
You should begin working on the Stand-Alone Project early in the course.Each lesson provides a benchmark for completing the Stand-Alone Project in a timely manner while working through the course.You will find this information in the “Stand-Alone Project Benchmark” section of each lesson. (200 points) (A 10-page response is required for the combination of Parts A, B, and C.)
For this project, you will analyze a contemporary legal issue from an ethical perspective, using both case law and contemporary examples in your analysis. Your Stand-Alone Project responses should be both grammatically and mechanically correct, and formatted in the same fashion as the project itself. If there is a Part A, your response should identify a Part A, etc. In addition, you must appropriately cite all resources used in your response and document in a bibliography using APA style.(200 points)(A 10-page response is required.)
Select a contemporary legal issue discussed during this course. Some of the discussed topics include police discretion, theories of punishment, disparate sentencing, and privatization of prisons. To make this project as interesting as possible, select a topic that interests you. Perform the necessary research to address the following in your paper.
What is the history and evolution of this topic? When did we first see this issue arise?How many perceptions and opinions about this topic changed over time? How have the courts and legislators treated this topic over time? Has there been any significant change? (A 3-page response is required.)
In analyzing the topic, find at least three (3) different court cases, either from the U.S. Supreme Court, or your state Supreme Court, that have dealt with this issue. Cite the case and give a brief summary of the case’s facts. Then, identify which ethical systems the court is using to reach its conclusions. (Note: The ethical systems are not always obvious. Analyze the case and determine for yourself what systems the court is using.) Remember, the court may be using more than one system to reach its conclusion. Explain how the ethical system is used in this case and how this case relates to the overall history and evolution of the topic.(A 3-page response is required.)
Discuss at least three (3) contemporary examples in the news or other articles on your chosen topic (contemporary can refer to anything in the last 5 years). Using the ethical systems studied during the course, justify or criticize the actions in your examples.(A 2-page response is required.)
Propose at least two (2) suggestions for resolving any ethical problems or issues related to your topic. Ask yourself this question, “What future actions should lawmakers, law enforcement officials, and others involved in this topic take to ensure continuing ethical and moral behavior?” (A 2-page response is required.)
Here are some suggestions to assist you in researching and developing your paper.
Using State Law
You should use the law of your home state if at all possible. For one, it is the law with which you are probably most familiar, and through your work on this project, you will learn even more about your state’s laws, regulations and cases. You might as well choose your own state!
Federal versus District Courts
Now a word about case law: Every state is in a corresponding federal district, and the decisions of those district courts are appealed to the corresponding federal appellate circuit court. Therefore, in Georgia, for example, the state courts with reported opinions are the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court. Georgia also has a federal District Court and its decisions are appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The 11th Circuit cases can then be appealed to the United States Supreme Court. Therefore, any cases from those courts would be fair game for anyone choosing Georgia for this assignment. To browse through the various state governments, websites, etc., I recommend that you visit “State and Local Government on the Net” (http://www.statelocalgov.net/index.cfm) where you will find links to the official state homepage for every state in the country.
Give Credit to Your Sources
When using information obtained from any source like those mentioned above, a case, a statute, etc., you must properly cite them within your paper as well as listing the source in a bibliography. Use APA style and be consistent throughout the entire assignment.
Flow and Support
Organize your paper in a logical fashion. Introduce your topic, provide the required information, and then conclude your paper. Make your paper flow like a road map so that the reader knows where he or she is supposed to be going and can easily follow your directions. Provide many examples and support for your positions for these trends based on your collected data. The page lengths listed are basic guidelines for developing each section of your paper. If you must deviate from these lengths due to the nature of your chosen topic, by all means, do so. However, you must still meet the overall page requirement to receive full credit.
Please refer to the rubric on the following pages for the grading criteria for this assignment.