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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The Red Barn, scene of the murder
The Red Barn Murder was a notorious murder committed in Suffolk, England in 1827. A young woman, Maria Marten, was shot dead by her lover, William Corder, the son of the local squire. The two had arranged to meet at the Red Barn, a local landmark, before eloping to Ipswich in order to be married. Maria was never heard from again. Corder fled the scene and although he sent Marten's family letters claiming she was in good health, her body was later discovered buried in the barn after her stepmother claimed to have dreamt about the murder. Corder was tracked down in London, where he had married and started a new life. He was brought back to Suffolk, and, after a well-publicised trial, found guilty of murder. He was hanged in Bury St. Edmunds in 1828; the execution was watched by a huge crowd. The story provoked numerous articles in the newspapers, and songs and plays. The village where the crime had taken place became a tourist attraction and the barn was stripped by souvenir hunters. The plays and ballads remained popular throughout the next century and continue to be performed today.

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U.S. Army CID special agents at a crime scene
Credit: U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command

A crime scene is a location where an illegal act took place, and comprises the area from which most of the physical evidence is retrieved by trained law enforcement personnel, CSIs or in rare circumstances forensic scientists.

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Concert at a Free Mumia demonstration in Germany, 2007
Mumia Abu-Jamal (born Wesley Cook on April 24, 1954) was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1981 murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner, and is currently a prisoner at State Correctional Institution - Greene near Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. In December 2001 a judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania affirmed the conviction but quashed his original punishment and ordered resentencing. Both Abu-Jamal and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania appealed. The case was orally argued before a three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia on May 17, 2007, and is pending. His case has received international attention. Supporters and human rights campaigners variously assert that he is innocent, that he was set up, that he did not receive a fair trial, and/or oppose the death penalty. Opponents assert that he is guilty, that he received the benefit of due process and was legitimately convicted of murder. Execution proponents among these assert that under Pennsylvania law his eventual judicial execution is warranted and mandated by the nature of his crime. Prior to his arrest he was a Black Panther Party activist, cab driver, and journalist. During the period of his imprisonment he has courted controversy as an honoree of municipal, educational and civil society organizations, and as a spoken word commentator and published author of several works - most notably Live from Death Row.

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Robert Todd Lincoln

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Bust of Marcus Aurelius
Poverty is the mother of crime.

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