Portal:Criminal justice

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Criminal justice is the system of, practices, and organizations, used by national and local governments, directed at maintaining social control, deterring and controlling crime, and sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation. The primary agencies charged with these responsibilities are law enforcement (police and prosecutors), courts, defense attorneys and local jails and prisons which administer the procedures for arrest, charging, adjudication and punishment of those found guilty. When processing the accused through the criminal justice system, government must keep within the framework of laws that protect individual rights. The pursuit of criminal justice is, like all forms of "justice," "fairness" or "process," essentially the pursuit of an ideal. Throughout history, criminal justice has taken on many different forms which often reflect the cultural mores of society.
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Members of the Frontier Battalion, ca. 1885
The Texas Ranger Division is a law enforcement agency with statewide jurisdiction based in Austin, Texas, in the United States. Over the years, the Texas Rangers have investigated crimes ranging from murder to political corruption, kept the peace during riots, acted as detectives, protected the Texas governor, tracked down fugitives, and functioned as a quasi-military force at the service of both the Republic (183645) and the state of Texas. The Texas Rangers were unofficially created by Stephen F. Austin in 1823 and formally constituted in 1835. Although the organization went through periods of inactivity during the 19th century, it was never officially dissolved. Since 1935, the organization has been a division of the Texas Department of Public Safety, and currently fulfills the role of Texas' State Bureau of Investigation. As of 2005, there are 118 active Rangers.

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Wanted poster for John Wilkes Booth
Credit: United States Department of War

The wanted poster for John Wilkes Booth (center) and his co-conspirators John Surratt (left) and David Herold (right), following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865. Booth, one of the most popular actors of his day and an outspoken advocate of the Confederacy, originally planned to kidnap Lincoln, but after that plan failed, plotted to kill the President upon hearing Lincoln's plan to give suffrage to former slaves. Herold was supposedly to have killed Vice President Andrew Johnson at the same time, but this attack was never carried out. After the assassination, Herold and Booth fled to a farmhouse in Virginia where they were discovered by Union Army soldiers on April 26. Booth was shot and killed, but Herold surrendered and was later executed for his actions. Surratt, meanwhile, had been involved in the kidnapping plot, but not the assassination attempt. He fled the country and was arrested in Vatican City, but was never convicted on any charges relating to the shooting.


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Charles Edward Magoon
Charles Edward Magoon was a prominent United States lawyer, judge, diplomat, and administrator who is best remembered as a governor of both the Panama Canal Zone and Cuba. He was also the subject of several small scandals during his career. As a legal adviser working for the United States Department of War, he drafted recommendations and reports that were used by Congress and the executive branch in governing the United States' new territories following the Spanish-American War. These reports were collected as a published book in 1902, then considered the seminal work on the subject. During his time as a governor, Magoon worked to put these recommendations into practice.

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James A. Garfield
Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained.

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