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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Virginia Tech memorial
Seung-Hui Cho (January 18, 1984 – April 16, 2007) was a student at Virginia Tech who committed mass murder of 32 people and wounded 25 others in the shooting rampage which has come to be known as the Virginia Tech massacre. Cho committed suicide after law enforcement officers breached the doors of the building where he had killed and injured his victims. Cho was a South Korean national who had permanent resident status in the United States, where he arrived at a young age with his family. He was diagnosed with a severe form of an anxiety disorder known as selective mutism in middle school, as well as depression. In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine convened a panel consisting of various officials and experts to investigate and examine the response and handling of issues related to the Virginia Tech shootings. The panel released its final report in August 2007, devoting more than 30 pages to detailing Cho's troubled history. In the report, the panel criticized numerous failures — by school administrators, educators and mental health professionals who came into contact with Cho during his college years and who failed to notice his deteriorating condition and help him. The panel also criticized misinterpretations of privacy laws and gaps in Virginia's mental health system and gun laws. In addition, the panel faulted Virginia Tech administrators in particular for failing to take immediate action after the first shootings.

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W. E. B. Du Bois
The chief problem in any community cursed with crime is not the punishment of the criminal, but the preventing of the young from being trained to crime.

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