In criminal cases, there are certain ethical duties that do apply to persons who have been suspected of having committed criminal offenses. It is, therefore, imperative to note that this ethical aspect of respecting such persons comes due to the existence of human rights and the mere fact that the one who has committed a criminal offense does not mean that he has ceased to be human. Observing the ethical rules is mandatory in the legal system of the United States since the failure to do so amounts to the violation of the fundamental human rights which are good grounds for acquittal irrespective of the crime committed, may it be a felony or misdemeanor. This paper looks into some of the duties and consequences of not observing ethical responsibilities.
The first ethical duty is ensuring that torture is not used as a means of obtaining evidence from the accused criminal. This is because torture is the violation of human rights, and it may make him or her confess to the crimes he or she did not commit. This has the consequence of such evidence being denied by the court and the officers involved in such malpractices that are unethical be charged.
Another ethical duty is to arraign the accused in court on time, which is according to the criminal justice system and rules of the United States. This means that the accused ought to be brought before the court of law within 24 hour once arrested. This 24-hour court appearance is applicable to minor offences or rather felonies while for major offenses like murder one has to be arraigned in court within 7 days of the arrest. It will, therefore, be unethical to put the accused in custody for more than that time without bringing them in court for further prosecution. This may amount to false imprisonment which is unethical. It is legally ethical that the accused is brought to the court so that the charges are read to them. The failure to observe this ethical duty may make the accused acquitted for the breach of the duty of not arraigning him or her in court on time.
Another duty that is in line with respecting the accused persons is that they should be entitled to fair hearing. This is because the criminal law system in the US holds that the accused is innocent until proven guilty. It is therefore prudent that he/she is provided with a fair hearing to be able to give their side of the story related to the crime allegedly committed by them. This is so since they are presumed to be innocent till proven guilty. The thing that makes fair hearing a cardinal ethical duty is the fact that the failure to grant the accused the opportunity to be heard may amount to the violation of this right or duty; as such, the accused may be acquitted upon establishing that they were not fairly heard. This is so since the failure to observe this duty might lead to wrongful convictions to the detriment of the accused.
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Also, under the US criminal justice system, the accused while in custody are entitled to clothing, food, and medical care. By the mere fact that such people have either been accused of or convicted of criminal offense does not deprive them of these cardinal rights. It is the duty of the state through the law enforcers to ensure that the accused people are well taken care of even while still under custody. This ethical duty is as imperative as the accused, though in custody, are still entitled to a better treatment and provisions. If this duty is not observed, it may bring charges of negligence on the part of the officials responsible for overseeing the performance of this function.