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In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term "crime" does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition, though statutory definitions have been provided for certain purposes. The most popular view is that crime is a category created by law; in other words, something is a crime if declared as such by the relevant and applicable law. One proposed definition is that a crime or offence (or criminal offence) is an act harmful not only to some individual but also to a community, society or the state ("a public wrong"). Such acts are forbidden and punishable by law.

The notion that acts such as murder, rape and theft are to be prohibited exists worldwide. What precisely is a criminal offence is defined by criminal law of each country. While many have a catalogue of crimes called the criminal code, in some common law countries no such comprehensive statute exists.

The state (government) has the power to severely restrict one's liberty for committing a crime. In modern societies, there are procedures to which investigations and trials must adhere. If found guilty, an offender may be sentenced to a form of reparation such as a community sentence, or, depending on the nature of their offence, to undergo imprisonment, life imprisonment or, in some jurisdictions, execution.

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Approximate location of Kengir camp in Kazakhstan
The Kengir uprising was a prisoner uprising that took place in the Soviet prison labor camp Kengir in the spring of 1954. It was distinct from other Gulag uprisings in the same period in its duration and intensity. After the murder of some of their fellow prisoners by guards, Kengir inmates launched a rebellion and proceeded to seize the entire camp compound, holding it for weeks and creating a period of freedom for themselves unique in the history of the Gulag. This situation lasted for an unprecedented length of time and gave rise to a panoply of colourful and novel activity, including the democratic formation of a provisional government by the prisoners, prisoner marriages, the creation of indigenous religious ceremonies, a brief flowering of art and culture, and the waging of a large, relatively complex propaganda campaign against the erstwhile authorities. After 40 days of freedom within the camp walls, intermittent negotiation, and mutual preparation for violent conflict, the uprising was brutally suppressed by Soviet armed forces. The story of the uprising was first committed to history in The Gulag Archipelago, a nonfiction work by former-prisoner and Nobel Prize-winning Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

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Empty jury box in an American courtroom
Credit: Ken Lund

A jury is a sworn body of persons convened to render a rational, impartial verdict and a finding of fact on a legal question officially submitted to them, or to set a penalty or judgment in a jury trial of a court of law. The word "jury" originates in Latin, from "juris"-law. In French, it became "juri" a law body. The petit jury or trial jury hears the evidence in a case and decides the disputed facts and usually consists of 12 jurors, although Scotland uses 15 jurors in criminal trials.


18 May 2019 – Crime in Alabama
One person was killed and eight injured in a shooting after a dispute between two women at a large high school graduation party. The suspect is still at large. (Associated Press)
2 May 2019 –
Insys Therapeutics founder John Kapoor is found guilty of racketeering in an opioid-related bribery scheme. (BBC)
28 April 2019 – Crime in Tennessee
Seven people are found dead in Sumner County, Tennessee. The suspect, Michael Cummins, is in police custody. (WFTS)
28 April 2019 – Crime in Ohio
Four family members, three women and one man, were found shot to death in an apartment in West Chester Township, Ohio. The suspect remains at large. (NBC News)
17 April 2019 – Aftermath of the 2019 Sudanese coup d'état
Former President of Sudan Omar al-Bashir is transferred from house arrest to a maximum security prison, reports say. His whereabouts had been unknown since the coup against him earlier this month. Al-Bashir has been wanted by the International Criminal Court since 2009 for war crimes in Darfur. (BBC)
11 April 2019 –
Police in Louisiana arrest Holden Matthews, a suspect in arson at three historically African-American churches in the past weeks which the NAACP flagged as hate crimes. Matthews is the son of a local deputy sheriff. He has ties to black metal music and commented on memes about musician Varg Vikernes, a neo-Nazi who boasted about burning churches in Norway and was imprisoned for arson and murder, but researchers are unsure if they prove hate was his motive. (CBS) (Rolling Stone) (Daily Beast)

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Ethel and Julius Rosenberg after their conviction
Julius Rosenberg (May 12, 1918 – June 19, 1953) and Ethel Greenglass Rosenberg (September 28, 1915 – June 19, 1953) were American Communists who received international attention when they were executed having been found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage in relation to passing information on the American nuclear bomb to the Soviet Union. The guilt of the Rosenbergs and the appropriateness of their sentence have been controversial and a subject of perennial debate amongst scholars. However, information released since the end of the Cold War seems to confirm the charges of espionage against Julius and, to a lesser extent, Ethel.

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Will Rogers
We don't seem able to check crime, so why not legalize it and then tax it out of business?

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