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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Helsinki Police patrol boats in Katajanokka, Helsinki, Finland
Credit: Pöllö

A police boat is usually a small sea-faring vessel that is used by police agencies to patrol bodies of water. They are usually employed in enclosed harbors near cities or in places where a stronger police presence than that offered by the Coast Guard is needed.


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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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Oscar Wilde
If England treats her criminals the way she has treated me, she doesn't deserve to have any.

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