A Moral Dilemma Allegory

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by franklinmonroe, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
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    Sheriff Betty and Deputy Fred were the only persons with the means and opportunity to commit the crime. Both Betty and Fred are well liked in Bedrock (although they represent different political parties). You respect both, although you have known Fred for many years more than Betty.

    Relative newcomer Betty states that Fred is guilty of the crime. Publically, Fred admits that he is guilty of the crime. Fred is about to be convicted of the crime based upon Betty’s testimony and his confession.

    However, Fred tells you privately (and in total confidence as his lawyer) that Betty actually committed the crime. You’ve had no occasions over many years to doubt Fred. Fred would seem to have nothing to gain by accusing Betty because he further tells you that he will not contradict Betty’s story in public. Why?

    Because Fred knows that an ugly dispute between himself and Betty could split Bedrock. Bedrock can ill afford another scandal (after a couple of unrelated unfortunate events in recent years which has left the town weak and vulnerable); Fred certainly doesn’t want his legacy to be associated with the final demise of the town. On the other hand, Betty does seem to have something to gain with Fred out of the way (since only they would be running for the Mayor’s office in the next election).

    It doesn’t seem very plausible that Fred could simply be mistaken (since after investigation there doesn’t seem to be any other probable explanation for the crime). There is nothing outside Fred’s testimony that would prove Betty is guilty and he refuses to testify against her.

    If you do nothing, your innocent client/friend Deputy Fred is going to prison and Bedrock will have a criminal as its next Mayor. Should you publically accuse Sheriff Betty on the chance that either Betty or Fred will confess to the truth?

    If you make a public accusation, the ensuing “she-said, he-said” controversy (no matter which way it turns out) will likely destroy the town you also love. And if neither one of them changes their story your professional career will be ruined and will follow you even after you leave Bedrock (whether before or after its collapse).

    What do you do?
     
  2. TCassidy

    TCassidy
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    You agreed to the canon of ethics prior to being admitted to the bar. You have no choice. You keep your oath.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Van

    Van
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    No matter how much lipstick you smear on the pig, it is still a "ends justify the means" argument. Look the other way for the greater good. Scripture is clear, it is never right to do wrong to get a chance to do right.
    We are to be perfect, even in the little things. Truth is like a diamond, it is hard, sharp and cutting, but it looks good and lasts a long time.
     
  4. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    Your only choice would be to recuse yourself from the case. You cannot violate counsel/client privilege, but neither does that mean you have to be party to what you see as immoral, which theoretically, at least, is why one might be interested in being a lawyer, to help further the interests of Justice.


    God bless.
     
  5. franklinmonroe

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    Thanks to all that commented so far. I agree that as his lawyer you couldn't break your oath.

    This was an allegory. In the the story "you" were the lawyer (I'm not a lawyer, nor is this about a legal case). Perhaps I overstated the legal/ethical responsibility "you" have to Fred in the allegory. What if you were not his lawyer but just a friend?
     
  6. Judith

    Judith
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    I would seek to get him to say publically what he said in private. If he refused and there was no evidence to prove she did the crime I would tell him I would be praying for him and to write often.
     

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