Legal issues in the area of criminology and criminal justice are very contentious due to the fact that there is varied opinion among the people in the society regarding what is criminal and what is not. Despite these differences, the society as a whole works under certain core values and principles that guide the actions of every member of the society. Therefore helps to reconcile the different opinions regarding different issues and brings all the members of the society in different sectors including the police to a consensus over the legal issues in criminal justice as well as administration.
Officer Goldens Lawsuit is very justifiable. This is due to the fact that the law allows anyone who feels that his or her rights have been infringed to follow a legal court process and table his or her complaints before a judge in order to call the defendant on board to explain the course of his or her actions. In that case, the complainant wins if the court issues an order in to reverse the decisions of the Sherriff and such a lawsuit can lead to the court giving instructions or orders to prevent the recurrence of a bad or unlawful act in future. Officer Goldens decision to follow a lawsuit after his transfer is therefore a legal process and can lead to streamlining of issues regarding the conduct of the Sheriffs of Saint Leo Sherriffs Department. More importantly are the merits of his lawsuit.
The law requires that for any transfer of a public servant to take place, that person should be well informed about it and stands a chance of accepting the transfer or refuting it. Democracy requires that any officer who is being transferred be served with an appropriate letter which stipulates reason for the transfer (Schmalleger, 2009). The transfer can only be effected after the deliberations over it between the boss and the person being transferred which leads to acceptance of the transfer. This is however not the case with the transfer of Officer Golden. The Sheriff transfers Officer Golden immediately without serving him with any letter to explain the cause of her actions of transferring Golden from his position as a beat officer to a desk job. By the fact that the salary of Officer Golden remains the same, the transfer is open to criticism because in real sense, a beat officer cannot earn the same income as a desk officer. Therefore, the lawsuit that Officer Golden is about to follow is likely to land the Sheriff in deep trouble in court.
The lawsuit that Officer Golden threatens to take is likely to bring to the surface the unlawful rules that infringes on Officer Goldens rights of expression. The officer is transferred by the sheriff to prevent him from talking about the evils and misconduct of the Saint Leo Sheriffs Department. This is because there is a draconian rule in the department which prohibits officers outside the department to speak about issues in the department. This is against the law of the land. The lawsuit that Officer Golden s therefore about to take may still bring the sheriff and the entire department under siege on the grounds that it is working under inhuman and unlawful working conditions that are set by the unlawful rules.
Officer Golden has actually not committed any wrong or crime. What he has only done is to speak out what he thinks is the truth about the misconduct of the Sheriffs in his department. The claims that he made about officers lying on affidavits so as to illegally acquire search warrants illegally could be true. This is because the court might launch an investigation aimed to find out the truth in this matter and this could lead to realization of the fact that sheriffs actually lied on affidavits which may lead to criminal charges being labeled against them and lead to loss of their jobs. This is because, search warrants are only supposed to be issued to officers who qualify for them and not just any officer (Reid, 1976). Therefore, if indeed the officers lied on affidavits, then this is a criminal offence which is chargeable in a court of law.
The lawsuit being pursued by Officer Golden is fully on legal grounds because, from the evidence, the officers actually illegally take portions of the seized drugs that they get from their searches which are against the law. These actions are criminal in nature since they are vied as destruction of evidence which can ground investigations and therefore kill cases against the people caught with the drugs. The officers therefore can find themselves in hot soup if Golden follows the lawsuit that he has threatened to. There is clear evidence that the sheriffs for example Officer Silver had seized some drugs and took portions of the drugs and failed to record them in the inventory and this brings criminal charges against them. Officer Golden therefore is very much justified since hi law suit may seek to get explanations from the sheriffs and he might want to use the people caught with the drugs as witnesses over the amounts of drugs caught with them and that recorded.
The law requires that any disciplinary letter put in the file of any public servant by his or her boss be made known to him or her and that he or she should clearly understand reasons for service of such a letter (Wilson & McLaren, 1963). This was not the case with Officer Goldens case. A disciplinary letter was secretively put in his file and therefore he might use this to prove to the court that his transfer was malicious and baseless. This could land the sheriff in deep trouble trying to explain to the court the reasons for transferring Golden from a beat officer to a desk job.
In general therefore, Officer Golden stands a chance to win the court process because of the merits of his lawsuit discussed above.
Just like Officer Golden, Officer Silver equally has valid claims when he sues the department for his termination. One of the valid claims that Silver has is illegal search of his office and cubicle by the sheriff. The law stipulates categorically that any search conducted in private premises should be done only after issuance of a legal search warrant to the officers who qualify to carry out such activities (Wilson & McLaren, 1963). The sheriff conducted an illegal search in the officer of Silver and this can be used against the Sheriff in a court of law to reverse the termination.
The illegal search conducted infringed on the privacy of Officer Silver. This is against the law since the privacy of every person in the nation is protected under the constitution unless the person is found to be guilty of criminal charges labeled against him in a court of law (Allen, 1979).
Silver has the right to be given an opportunity to defend himself before losing his job. This is however not considered as the sheriff just terminates his service basing on the video evidence and what she heard from Officer Golden. Officer Silver is therefore right to seek the intervention of the law in reinstating his job and status because he was ousted from his job illegally by the sheriff and this could lead the sheriff to very serious trouble when she comes in confrontation with the law.
The answer to the question whether the sheriff has rights to terminate Officer Silver is No. this is because, any person is innocent until proven guilty in the court of law. Instead of the termination, the sheriff would have served officer Silver with a letter asking him to voluntarily step down to allow investigations to be conducted against him and his job would only e terminated if he is found guilty but if not, he would continue working as a sheriff. Therefore, I recommend that Officer Silver be reinstated and then served with a letter to ask him to step down and allow investigations against him basing on the charges labeled against him. This will make sure that the sheriff operates within the law and it will help her to streamline her defense against the charges that Officer Silver has placed on her and the department.
Another strategy that the sheriff can use to humble officer Silver is possible to disclose to him that he had put some video cameras in the evidence room without the consent of any officer and the cameras happened to have captured various incidences that can be used as evidence against Officer Silver. This might make officer silver to drop his charges against the department and the sheriff due to the fact that such charges may take him out of the frying pan into the real fire. This can be used to help since officer Silver knows very well that he went to the evidence room and added something to the evidence bag that was there. However, if Officer Silver insists on proceeding with the case, then the sheriff can use the video tapes as evidence to corner Officer Silver.
Allen, F. A. (1979). Criminal Justice, Legal Values and the Rehabilitative Ideal. The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science, 226-232.
Reid, S. T. (1976). Crime and criminology (p. 223). Hinsdale, Ill.: Dryden Press.
Schmalleger, F. (2009). Criminal justice today: An introductory text for the 21st century. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Wilson, O. W., & McLaren, R. C. (1963). Police Administration (p. 68). New York: McGraw-Hill.
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