Commenting on too classmates discussion on The Social Contract and Crime

Respond to the discussion thread of at least two peers, reflecting on what you think contributed to the evolution of the punishment for the crime they chose.

Classmate # 1 Eric

In Georgia, the killing of a law enforcement K9 is punished as a felony under the Official Code of Georgia (OCGA) 16-11-107. Under this code section: (b) Any person who knowingly and intentionally destroys or causes serious or debilitating physical injury to a police dog or police horse, knowing said dog to be a police dog or said horse to be a police horse, shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years, or a fine not to exceed $10,000.00, or both. This subsection shall not apply to the destruction of a police dog or police horse for humane purposes.

Under the Social Contract Theory the police K9 is an agent of the government. Killing the K9 violates that people will not harm one another. This is a basic rule of social living.

Georgia changed the law in 2015, enhancing penalties from 18 months to 5 years in prison. The law was a compromise, which initially called for a 10 year sentence. The definition of the law only changed in the reflection of describing jobs done by various dogs.

This change reflects the value system society places on dogs. Rather than being viewed as equipment, they are viewed as agency members. This is a reflection of concepts such as “fur child” in which pet owners attempt to identify as parents.

As a result of this law, law enforcement have a heightened ethical responsibility to use care in the deployment of K-9 units. Placing the K9 into known danger is unethical if the animals risk of death or serious injury is certain. The dog is given the safety consideration more like a person than equipment.

Classmate # 2 Melissa

The crime that I have chosen to research for this discussion is the sale and distribution of cocaine. I researched cocaine and the laws that stood in the state of Louisiana where I currently reside and found that Cocaine in both powdered form and as crack is one of the states most heavily trafficked illegal drug. The social contract is that not only possessing, but intent to distribute a controlled substance such as cocaine into the public is against the law. When caught with any amount of cocaine, you will immediately be arrested and charged with a felony. The amount of jail time that can be handed down to an individuals being arrested for this crime depends on the amount of controlled substance that was found on his person. When one looks at the vast difference in jail time between powder cocaine and crack cocaine it is obvious that there is a need for reform. One current debate the is going on is that there is a racial determining factor in the difference in jail time, because typically white people use powder cocaine and people of color use crack cocaine, but as of yet there has been little to no change to the definition of the crime over time. Throughout the years there have been a lot of disputes recognizing the differences in jail time between these two substances but for some reason these debates go unnoticed and little to no change has occurred. “A comprehensive examination of the 100-to-1 crack versus powder cocaine sentencing disparity under which distribution of just 5 grams of crack carries a minimum 5-year federal prisonsentence, while distribution of 500 grams of powder cocaine carries the same 5-year mandatory minimum sentence(Vagine, Deborah).

I think that there have been small differences in the ethical responsibilities of law enforcement professionals related to this crime. I believe that because there is such a big war of fighting the crimes related to drugs that law enforcement officers have become more vigilant and more determined to crack down on the fight against drugs. Law enforcement has dedicated more time, money and officers to fight specifically against the war on drugs and though there might be times when they feel they are winning this war, drug dealers and distributors are becoming more clever and finding more ways to get their product on the streets.

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