Christopher and Melissa Butler have been living together for three years
and have a two-year-old daughter, Madden. Christopher and Melissa were
married in August 2018.
On January 3, 2019, Melissa came running into the University City Police Department crying hysterically and shaking.
Officer Billy Klub said, “Young lady take a deep breath, and tell me what is going on.”
Melissa paused to catch her breath and said, “My name is Melissa
Butler, and I ran here from my house because I fear for my daughter’s
”Why do you fear for your daughter’s life, Melissa?” Asked Officer Klub.
Melissa replied, “Tonight, my husband, Christopher Butler, grabbed my
cell phone and threw it to the floor; the phone broke into pieces. I
quickly ran out the door, so Christopher could not hit or strangle me.
As I was running away, I heard Christopher yell; if I catch you texting
anyone again, I will kill you.
Officer Klub interjected and said, “Melissa, what about your daughter?”
Melissa’s crying became worse and threw her sobs; she said, “I am so
worried that Christopher will hurt our daughter. I usually get her and
take her with me when he is like this, but I was not able to get her
before I ran out of the house.”
Officer Klub said, “Melissa, I will send officers to your house to check
on your daughter. You will stay here at the station with me where I
know you will be safe.”
“Wait, the officers need to know that when Christopher drinks alcohol
the more violent, he becomes, and tonight he has been drinking a lot.”
Officer Klub asked Melissa, “Are there any weapons at your house, and
has your husband been arrested for domestic violence in the past?”
Melissa said, “Yes, there is a handgun registered in Christopher’s name,
and he has been arrested a couple of times for beating me up.”
“Melissa, do not be scared, just tell me what happened,” said Officer Klub.
Melissa recounts another violent incident that occurred since her
marriage. “In August, not long after we were married, Christopher put
his hands around my throat, making it hard for me to breathe.
Fortunately, I able to break free, grab Madden, and run out of the
house. Madden and I stayed next door at the neighbors until Christopher
Officer Klub asked, “Did you call the police and report the incident?”
Melissa replied, “Yes, the neighbor called the police for me, and the
officers arrested Christopher because of the marks around my neck, but
he was released the next day. Then a week after that incident, our new
puppy went missing. When I asked Christopher what happened to puddles;
he told me that he would pay for the puppy. I asked Christopher to
explain to me what he meant by that statement and in a stern voice,
Christopher told me not to push him on the subject or I would be sorry.
Christopher then made a comment under his breath, but I heard him, he
said that we did not need a puppy to take care of because Madden and I
were enough mouths to feed.”
Officer Klub asked, “Melissa, what do you think happened to the puppy?”
Melissa teared up when she said, “I believe Christopher killed my
puppy.” Melissa continued to tell the officer about another incident
that happened around the middle of September. “It was around 8:30 p.m.,
and Madden was crying when I put her to bed. I tried to get Madden to
stop crying by rocking her. I put her in her crib for a few minutes
while I ran to get a cup of tea. Madden continued to whimper, and
Christopher became annoyed with her; he yelled at her to shut up and
then put a pan over Madden’s head. I grabbed Christopher’s arm to
remove the pan; he shoved me and threw the pan at me; it hit me in the
Officer Klub asked, “Did you report this incident to the police?”
“Yes, the neighbor, who I had run to in the other incident, heard the
yelling and called the police. When the police arrived and after I told
them what happened, the officer asked to see my back. After I showed
him my back; he took pictures, and the other officer arrested
Christopher. Since this incident happened on a Friday, the judge did
not arraign Christopher until Monday; he got another signature bond and
was out Monday morning.”
Officer Klub informed Melissa, “The officers that responded to your
house arrested Christopher for domestic battery, and Madden is fine.
Another officer is bringing Madden to the station to pick you up and
take you both back home.”
When booking Christopher into the county jail, the booking officer
acquired his past criminal record. The booking officer advised the
arresting officer that Christopher has had three other arrests for
domestic battery within the last six months. In all prior cases of
domestic violence, the prosecuting attorney declined to prosecute
Christopher (no reason was given). Christopher is currently facing
11-counts of domestic battery; the charges include strangulation,
suffocation, battery, and criminal damage to property.
The next afternoon after Christopher’s initial court appearance, the
judge gave Christopher a signature bond. After Christopher’s release,
he returned home and stabbed Melissa to death in front of their
two-year-old daughter, Madden. The police later arrested Christopher for
Melissa’s murder. Christopher will remain in the custody of the
sheriff until further orders from the court.
In 2 to 3 paragraphs, a minimum of 250 words, apply an ethical system to
the scenario above explaining the concept of prosecutorial immunity.
Explain if the cloak of absolute immunity should exist for prosecuting
*Police officers do not have absolute immunity, or the President of the
United States, should prosecutors be held accountable for their lack of
action? There is a time-honored belief in the United States that no one
is above the law. Why do prosecuting attorneys continue to be the
For additional help go to this link
source: Pollock, J.M. (2019). Ethical dilemmas and decisions in criminal justice (10th Ed.). Cengage Learning.
Rethinking Prosecutorial Immunity
The selected case scenario focuses on matters of prosecutorial immunity and the ethical system in law enforcement. Notably, Christopher faces multiple legal charges such as strangulation, suffocation, battery, and criminal damage to property, but the prosecuting attorney declines to prosecute him each time he is arrested. On one occasion, Christopher is arrested for domestic battery but is eventually released on a signature bond. After the release, Christopher returns home and stabs his wife Melissa to death in front of their two-year-old daughter. This case scenario best fits in the ethical system of natural law, and it raises a need for prosecutors to be held accountable for their lack of action, which can be extremely damaging to individuals.
The ethical system that best suits the selected case scenario is natural law. As noted by Chiassoni (2014), natural law is an objective order of human conduct, and its existence does not depend on any human act of law-making or law creation. Notably, natural law views right and wrong as standardly accepted by everyone. Natural law applies in this scenario, whereby Christopher’s domestic battery and killing are standardly considered wrong regardless of the existing law. The existence of natural law may explain why Melissa’s neighbor called the police after the event of domestic battery. Arguably, like everyone else, the neighbor viewed domestic battery as a wrongful act.
Besides the natural law, the concept of prosecutorial immunity also applies in this scenario because there are several accounts of lack of accountability by the law. According to Malcolm et al. (2018), prosecutorial immunity is a policy established by the Supreme court, which exempts prosecutors from being liable for violating others’ rights. In this context, the prosecutorial immunity is exemplified in the fact that the prosecuting attorney is not held accountable for his lack of action to prosecute Christopher regardless of the considerable evidence, and numerous times he is arrested for domestic battery.
Although the law protects prosecutors against liability, the same law should lift the cloak of absolute immunity because it encourages prosecutors to indulge in unethical practices for personal incentives. This view is evidenced by the numerous individuals who have been convicted falsely due to prosecutors withholding exculpatory evidence during a trial. Arguably, some prosecuting attorneys intentionally indulge in unethical practices for perverse incentives such as convicting more people to secure more distinguished positions in the profession and ultimately receive protection from the prosecutorial immunity. The view that prosecuting attorneys can intentionally behave unethically suggests that the law should lift the cloak of immunity for this group.
In my view, prosecutors should be held accountable for their lack of inaction because it is incredibly damaging to the affected parties. As one can see in Melissa and Christopher’s case, the prosecutor’s failure to convict the culprit, despite the numerous accounts and evidence against the convict, eventually led to murder. Arguably, if prosecutors were held accountable for their actions, the prosecuting attorney may have taken action against Christopher and probably incarcerated him to facilitate behavioral change and prevent further damage to his wife and child.
Despite the extreme damages associated with the lack of prosecutors’ accountability under the law, these attorneys still continue to be exempted from legal liabilities due to their work nature. As noted by Malcolm et al. (2018), the cloak of absolute immunity is purposed not to protect the guilty but protect the system and prosecutors from thinking about liability issues when they should be thinking about the facts of the law. Fundamentally, the exception of prosecuting attorneys from prosecution in the event of a violation of law is to enable them to perform their duties effectively.
Chiassoni, P. (2014). Kelsen on natural law theory. Journal for Constitutional theory and Philosophy of Law, 23, 135-163. https://doi.org/10.4000/revus.2976
Malcolm, J.G., Neily, C., & Wilson, G.D. (2018, January 4). Prosecutorial immunity. The Federalist Society. https://fedsoc.org/events/prosecutorial-immunity