Utilitarianism

Below are three scenarios—YOU ARE TO PICK ONE SCENARIO. After you choose one scenario, answer the following three questions putting each question in bold before the paragraph explaining. This paper should be min 2 pages in length, APA format (times new roman, double-spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins, page number top right hand corner). You also may use your textbook from Crim 305 or an outside source, but you must have cited and a reference page that is APA format for the definitions of formalism and utilitarianism (and please don’t use Wikipedia). NO TITLE PAGE NEEDED

Utilitarianism is a theory in normative ethics, or the ethics that define the morality of actions, as proposed by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. … The greatest happiness principle states that a moral action is one that maximizes utility, or happiness, for the greatest number of people Ethical formalism is a type of ethical theory which defines moral judgments in terms of their logical form (e.g., as “laws” or “universal prescriptions”) rather than their content (e.g., as judgments about what actions will best promote human well-being). The term also often carries critical connotations.

The letter of the law versus the spirit of the law is an idiomatic (Links to an external site.) antithesis (Links to an external site.). When one obeys the letter of the law but not the spirit, one is obeying the literal interpretation of the words (the “letter”) of the law (Links to an external site.), but not necessarily the intent of those who wrote the law. Conversely, when one obeys the spirit of the law but not the letter, one is doing what the authors of the law intended, though not necessarily adhering to the literal wording.
“Law” originally referred to legislative statute (Links to an external site.), but in the idiom may refer to any kind of rule. Intentionally following the letter of the law but not the spirit may be accomplished through exploiting technicalities (Links to an external site.), loopholes (Links to an external site.), and ambiguous language.

SCENARIO 1–Policing
You are a patrol officer when you observe a black car with tinted windows driving 25 miles over the speed limit. You make a proper stop and realize that the driver is a popular politician who is running for governor. What do you do?

SCENARIO 2-Corrections
While working the block, an inmate requests to talk with you. He tells you that another corrections officer, Joe Smith, is bringing in drugs for one of the inmates. You immediately tell your supervisor who sets up a meeting with the Warden. Based on information from the inmate informant, Joe Smith is planning to bring drugs into the prison on Friday. A sting operation is put in place and you are given strict orders not to tell anyone. Your best friend John Jones works that shift and is good friends with Joe Smith. Although you don’t tell him why, you warn him to stay clear of Joe Smith. John Jones then tells another close friend on the shift. On Friday, Joe Smith does not bring any drugs into the prison and upon further investigation, it is found that several officers knew about the sting. What action should be taken?

SCENARIO 3-Probation/Parole
You are working as a Parole officer. While conducting a home visit for one of your clients who is staying at at an extended stay budget hotel, you notice a small amount of marijuana on the nightstand between the two beds. The client immediately claims that the marijuana is not his and states it belongs to his roommate who is not present. The client has been on your caseload for six months and has caused no problems. His last drug screen was two weeks ago and was clean. He recently found a good paying job at a warehouse and according to his boss, is an excellent employee. Your parole office normally takes a zero-tolerance approach to drug violations. You would be within policy to revoke his parole and send him back to prison. What do you do?

Make sure you write each question and reply underneath.
QUESTIONS-
1) How would this scenario be answered using formalism?
2) How would this scenario be answered using utilitarianism?
3) Now compare the above answers as to whether it is better to follow the “letter of the law” or the “spirit of the law”. Explain your answer.

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