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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Damage to the Murrah building before cleanup began
The Oklahoma City bombing was a terrorist attack on April 19, 1995 aimed at the U.S. government in which the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed in an office complex in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The attack claimed 168 lives and left over 800 injured. Until the September 11, 2001 attacks, it was the deadliest act of terrorism on U.S. soil. Shortly after the explosion, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer stopped 26-year-old Timothy McVeigh for driving without a license plate and unlawfully carrying a weapon. Within days after the bombing, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were both arrested for their roles in the bombing. Investigators determined that McVeigh and Nichols were sympathizers of an anti-government militia movement and that their motive was to avenge the government's handling of the Waco and Ruby Ridge incidents (the bombing occurred on the anniversary of the Waco incident). McVeigh was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001. Nichols was sentenced to life in prison. A third conspirator, Michael Fortier, who testified against the two conspirators, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for failing to warn the U.S. government. As with other large scale terrorist attacks, conspiracy theories dispute the official claims and point to additional perpetrators involved. The attacks led to widespread rescue efforts from local, state, and federal agencies, along with considerable donations from across the country.

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Anti-Iranian sentiment during Iran hostage crisis
Credit: Marion S. Trikosko, U.S. News & World Report

A man exemplifying anti-Iranian sentiment during a 1979 Washington, D.C. student protest of the Iran hostage crisis. His raised sign reads "deport all Iranians, get the hell out of my country" and "Release all Americans now" on the reverse side.

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Solution to Zodiac's 408-symbol cipher
The Zodiac Killer is a serial killer who operated in Northern California in the late 1960s. His identity remains unknown. The Zodiac coined his name in a series of taunting letters he sent to the press. His letters included four cryptograms (or ciphers), three of which have yet to be solved. The Zodiac murdered five known victims in Benicia, Vallejo, Lake Berryessa, and San Francisco between December 1968 and October 1969. Four men and three women between the ages of 16 and 29 were targeted. Others have also been suspected to be Zodiac victims, but there has been thus far no conclusive evidence to link them to the killer. In April 2004, the San Francisco Police Department marked the case "inactive", but reopened it some time before March 2007. The case remains open in other jurisdictions as well.

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Ambrose Bierce
Destiny: a tyrant's authority for crime, and a fool's excuse for failure.

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