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Thursday, September 3, 2015


Such dilemmas are faced by attorneys, investigators, and many professionals on a daily basis.  Professionals will often find their personal religious beliefs and morality in conflict with the law and professional ethics.  Individuals own and control their moral code and can change it or enforce it based upon need and desire. However, the law and professional ethics are governed by others and we can be punished for our failures in the here and now while we still suffer from the human condition.  The Kentucky clerk without question has a right to her moral and religious convictions.  However, she took an oath to perform her duties in accordance with the law and the professional ethics of the position.  Refusing to perform her duties is a moral choice but it is also a legal and ethical violation.  It is a paradox as her religious and moral beliefs conflict with her ethical and legal obligations.  When one accepts a position, any position, and religion or personal morality conflicts with ethical and legal obligations, the moral, ethical and legal decision would be to resign from the position.

Consider the attorney or criminal defense investigator who will in accordance with the demands of their positions will represent and assist murderers and child molesters.   Of course, pursuant to the law they are innocent until proven guilty.  However, what if a defendant,  protected by the attorney client-privilege, admits their guilt and explains the details of their extraordinary crimes?  Would such a person follow their moral code, one which finds such crimes disgusting, and resign from the case?  The true professional would put their moral code aside and adhere to the ethical and legal obligations demanded by their position.  If they could not, the moral and professional individual should resign.  
Stepping down from a well-paid position of power takes true conviction and courage. Otherwise, the motive for failing to respect the oath may come into question.

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