The Federal Sentencing Guidelines

The Federal Sentencing Guidelines

topic :The Federal Sentencing Guidelines

U.S. Attorney Thomas Marks is to prosecute three persons charged with distributing 5 kilograms of cocaine and with conspiracy. They were arrested in a sting operation when an undercover police officer sold them the cocaine for $75,000. They were arrested after one of the defendants had given the undercover officer the money and had taken possession of the cocaine.

According to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, each of the three defendants faces a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 10 years. Each defendant had a different role in the transaction that led to their arrest as follows:

Defendant One: This person appeared to be the primary ringleader, used his business premises for meetings to discuss the drug conspiracy, and had the largest role in negotiating price and terms of sale. According to police, he is the leader of a drug organization that markets about 20 kilograms of cocaine each month and launders the proceeds through his business.

Defendant Two: This person appeared to act as Defendant One’s lieutenant; he made several incriminating statements recorded on tape during the sale negotiation, revealing a knowledge of the cocaine business and his plans to resell the drugs. He has no prior criminal record.

Defendant Three: This person basically acted as a lookout during the transaction; he can be convicted as an accomplice but was not a substantial player. He drove the other defendants to meetings and searched the police undercover officer on the date of the sale.

Defendants One and Two have no criminal records, but Defendant Three has a significant record of violent crime that includes assault convictions, domestic violence, firearms possession and use, and stalking.

The lawyer for Defendant Two informs the prosecutor, Marks, that his client will testify against Defendants One and Three if the distribution charges against him are dismissed and if the court is given a recommendation for a short jail term on the conspiracy charge.

Question: After applying the criteria for a virtue approach, should Marks accept the plea bargain offered?

Source: Cassidy, Michael. 2006. “Character and Context: What Virtue Theory Can Teach Us About a Prosecutor’s Ethical Duty to ‘Seek Justice.’” Notre Dame Law Review 82 (2): 100–161.

These questions are also from the textbook and can help for guidance:

How does one become a virtuous person? Discuss with reference to Aristotle’s ideas and theories.
Why do modern philosophers regard virtue ethics as an alternative to deontological and consequentialist ethical decision-making approaches?
What are the main criticisms leveled against virtue ethics?
How do professional codes of ethics relate to virtue ethics, and why are they important in ethical decision-making in criminal justice?


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