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Ethical Dilemma Paper

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Ethical Dilemma Paper

An ethical dilemma is a complex situation that involves making two choices, neither of which can be determined through moral principles because they conflict. So the course of action as to what is right or what is wrong is clouded. This paper will address on an ethical dilemma from a current story in the news. It will also touch on: the nature of the dilemma, the ethical decision made, alternative courses of action, and the outcome of the situation.

Scheduled to be executed on August 01, 2012, Marcus Druery stands accused of murdering a former classmate in Brazos County, Texas. The lawyers appointed to him plan to request a judge to appoint experts in conducting a full examination because they believe he is not qualified to be executed because of his current condition. They will also request that the court withdraw his execution date. Druery has been in and out of the unit for psychiatric treatment since 2009 and he abstains from taking anti-psychotic medication because he is certain that nothing is wrong with him. According to Grissom (2012), the question in Druery's case does not concern his guilt or his sanity at the time of the crime, but if he can understand why he is being executed. He knows of the execution date, but his presumption is that the date does not apply him nor will he be executed of a crime that he did not commit. The problem is that even though there always has been a ban on executing the insane, courts are struggling to deal with determining what is considered mental illness and what is not.

On July 24 the judge denied the motion to hold a full hearing on claims of Druery's mental illness. Two days later, the lawyers file a request through the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for a stay of execution. The following day that request was granted. The ethical decision made here was instead of executing a man convicted of murder, the execution is delayed to further investigate if the man is in fact mentally ill. If that be the case, then another decision will be made as to whether he should have a longer prison sentence without parole or be admitted to a psychiatric hospital. One of the biggest arguments in this case is that executing Druery would be in violation of the Constitution as determined by Supreme Court in Ford vs. Wainwright (1986). Under this case the Supreme Court banned the execution of the mentally ill, ruling that it violates the Eighth Amendment (Cruel & Unusual Punishment). Furthermore, it ruled that the mentally ill are entitled to a competency hearing, which includes an evaluation by two independent experts and an evidentiary hearing in court to determine if the inmate is sane enough to die.

Whether or not Druery is entitled to a full competency hearing currently rests with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Meanwhile, Amnesty International has issued a call to action urging people to sign a petition to



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