Branching Scenario

Branching Scenario

CJ 340

Applied Criminal Justice Ethics


Over the course of this reading we will be talking about the Branching Scenario, right off the bat we see there is a plain view doctrine discussion. We will walk through the scenario together and base our choice off the moral choice we must all face. By the end of our scenario we will have come to the best ethical decision while staying true to our morals.

The scenario starts with a traffic stop for a minor vehicle infraction with the tail light being out. The partners approach the stopped vehicle and one partner feels bad about the guy driving. This partner removes the driver and searches the vehicle, finds a weapon, and apprehends the driver. The partner wants to write his report to say the weapon was in plain view. We selected to tell our partner that we will write the truth in the report, your partner agrees with you and writes his report as it happened. We decided to talk with the supervisor and release the subject without charge.

The questions that have come up are, what do you do with your partner the administration and your fellow worker? Your partner and his morals may have shifted, to uncontrolled character being that some part of his character is bad as stated by Delattre.(Delattre, 2011). From this point on you may have to keep an extra eye on your partner to ensure he does not become a bad character. This is also to cover your butt to keep you from getting involved in the mistakes made.

Alienation can occur from your co-workers; this could be the hardest part of being of excellent character. While doing the right thing is always the hardest, more so when no one is looking. Your co-workers may not see it as doing the right thing rather see it as your letting a murder go. Being of excellent character will require some hardship and even persecution from others.

One must also make sure your administration is not looking the other way. While they are there to follow protocols and enforce them, they themselves could only be looking to get the murder off the streets. During your report you must just stick to your guns and tell the events as they happen, even if you get blow back from your administration.

During the scenario many ethical choices have come to light. The first being the possible breach of search and seizure, followed by the detention of a suspect under ill gotten evidence, and finally the willingness to falsify a official report. While not everyone has the same moral campus, we must hold true to our morals no matter what the consequences may be. Your morals should always guide you and in the case even the unpopular choice should be your decision and you will sleep well at night knowing you have done the right thing.


Delattre, J., E. (08/2011). Character and Cops: Ethics in Policing, 6th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from