Lecture 8-10 on Rights of Defendants
The Dirty Harry Problem
Carl Klockars' (1980) uses Dirty Harry to identify what the police can do and cannot do
Dirty Harry Problem using the means outside the law to bring them to justice
Morality is outside the law; people who aren't brought to justice but everyone knows they
are guilty; thus, a dirty cop brings them to justice using means outside the law
When criminals are on the streets, anyone would feel morally mad but feelings
themselves do not make a moral society
Moral justice is not about legal correctness
Law makes mistakes too
You can achieve a good end through bad means
Dirty Harry Problem using negative means for positive ends
Art utilitarianism goodness or badness/wrongness is based on the consequences on
o Greatest good is for greatest number
Bentham vs. Mill
Bentham consequences is most important
o Mill legal rules have consequences is important too
Police have a moral outrage because some criminals can't be put at justice; thus, they use
wrong means to put them in jail
Carl Klockars' (1980) The Dirty Harry Dilemma
o "when and to what extent does the morally good end justify an ethically, politically,
or legally dangerous means for its achievement?"
o Police is put in a moral dilemma
o Police is responsible for some action; they're not innocent
o "when the ends to be achieved are urgent and unquestionably good and only a dirty
means will work, the police officer faces a genuine moral dilemma"
When can you engage in this kind of activity?
What are the conditions to this problem?
Which actions are better or worse?
You're trained for your profession and not cross the line; you're not trained for moral
Police could become worse in terms of using wrong means to achieve good ends
Developed from a movie: the criminal holds a girl hostage, asking for ransom, but the girl
is dead. Harry (Clint Eastwood) breaks into criminal's apartment and shoots him in the leg,
wanting a confession
Is it legitimate form of outrage? It is even more outrage if the criminal gets through the
Plot analysis: 3 questions must be asked
What are the probabilities that these wrong means will achieve the good ends? The
probability has increased by breaking the criminal's apartment or shooting him in
the leg. The higher degree of knowledge, the more probability for the bad mean to
be more acceptable the cops working thesis
o Are there other means or ways to achieve the good end? Ex. a confession higher
moral beings have less creative than lower moral beings How could Harry do it differently? two forms of lying (does the criminal
deserve the truth? Why? Because they broke the law in the first place, the law
binds us together; thus, you can act differently to someone who is outside
that relationship, or outside the law)
Factual lie lying to someone who deserve the truth
moral lie lying to someone who doesn't deserve the truth
o Is the issue weighty? To Harry's situation, it's about a girl's life, not self-interest
Sometimes there's no alternatives to achieve the same good end; but it has to be serious
enough to engage it in the first place
Dirty Tricks and Nice Officers?
Will the cop become a dirty cop if engaging this kind of activity?
From the perspective of the law, are the cop corrupt if they engage in bad means?
If you are a good moral person, if you could do something but didn't, you would feel a
sense of moral responsibility
You want cops to feel a sense of moral responsibility
Once the cop engages in this kind of activity, he is no longer innocent
o A good cop can become a bad cop; he might be a good moral person in general
Even if bad means can achieve good ends, but we fear it changes the cop's character;
thus, we don't like them to engage in dirty means
The Realities of the Dirty Harry
o Does the end justify the mean?
o Does the bad mean justify a goo