Portal:Criminal justice

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Scales of Justice
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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Lady Justice is a personification of the law
Law is a system of rules which is usually enforced through a set of institutions. Law frames everyday life and society in a wide variety of ways. "The rule of law," wrote the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle in 350 BC, "is better than the rule of any individual." Legal systems around the world elaborate legal rights and responsibilities in different ways. A basic distinction is made between civil law jurisdictions and systems using common law. Small numbers of countries still base their law on religious scripts. Scholars investigate the nature of law through many perspectives, including legal history and philosophy, or social sciences, such as economics and sociology. The study of law raises important questions about equality, fairness and justice, which is not always simple. "In its majestic equality," said the author Anatole France in 1894, "the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread." The most important institutions for law are the judiciary, the legislature, the executive, its bureaucracy, the military and police, the legal profession and civil society.

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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.

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Wikinews Crime and law portal
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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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Hubert Humphrey
There are not enough jails, not enough policemen, not enough courts to enforce a law not supported by the people.

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Criminology

Crime

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Criminal justice system

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