Legal System

The Legal System Channel features information related to how society deals with crime, criminals and law enforcement. Learn more about how governments operate their legal systems.

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Why Is It So Hard for the Innocent to Be Freed From Prison?

It takes a lot of legal maneuvering to free an innocent person from prison. And that takes a lot of money. That's why the Innocence Project is so critical to help free the wrongly convicted.

Racketeering Isn't Just a Crime for Mobsters

Racketeering didn't exist as a crime before 1970. So what is it and why was the Mafia instrumental in its creation?

Who Is In Charge of Policing Mask Mandates?

You've probably seen at least one video of someone berating a store employee about why they don't have to wear a mask. So how much can retail stores do to police the mask mandates?

Why the 'Streisand Effect' Might Actually Make a Cover-up Go Viral

When Barbra Streisand sued a photographer who took a photo of her house, the ensuing publicity called far more attention to the picture than it would have gotten otherwise. And that's not the only time attempted censorship has backfired.

What Does Defund the Police Actually Mean?

Amid the furor over George Floyd's death while in custody, there have been increasing calls to cities to divert funding away from police departments to other means of solving social problem. But how does that work?

What Was So Lucky About Mafia Boss Charles 'Lucky' Luciano?

The gangster most known for facilitating the creation of the modern American Mafia was the head of organized crime in New York City in the 1930s. But the U.S. government asked for his help during World War II.

Can the U.S. President Ever Declare Martial Law?

The U.S. has declared martial law in the past, but only sparingly and in dire situations. So, what would it take for the president to use it now?

5 Things to Know Before You Shoot Video of a Possible Crime

Recording a video that could potentially become evidence in a criminal case can make your life very complicated. So what do you need to consider before you pull out your phone?

Self-Quarantine Might Feel Like House Arrest, But It's Not

On the advice or orders of your elected leaders, you've been 'sheltering in place' and limiting outside activities. It's starting to feel like you're on house arrest, just without the ankle bracelet. But how similar is it really?

Why Is 'Intersectionality' So Controversial?

Intersectionality was originally a legal way to recognize that people who were members of more than one identity group deserved equal treatment. But critics have charged that intersectionality has fostered a sort of 'oppression Olympics.'

You Know These 7 Supreme Court Cases by Name, But What Did They Decide?

Some Supreme Court cases are so well known they're often referred to by their case names (ever heard of Roe v. Wade?) But what were the cases really about and what did they decide?

Money, Drugs and Madness: The Life and Death of Pablo Escobar

The brutal Colombian drug lord was a millionaire in his 20s but died in a hail of gunfire the day after his 44th birthday.

How to Protect Your Packages From Porch Pirates

During the holiday season, chances are you'll get several packages mailed to your house. Are you worried about package theft? We've got some tips to derail porch pirates.

Arrested Development Rapper Speech Helps Rehab Prisoners Through Music

A new documentary by director Sam Bathrick follows rapper Todd "Speech" Thomas of Arrested Development as he works with inmates in a Virginia jail to create music and change lives.

Take a Stab at Our American Gangsters Quiz

They may have been hard-bitten crooks, but when John Dillinger, Arthur Barker and "Pretty Boy" Floyd were at large, ordinary citizens loved to follow their exploits. Find out what you know about these and other gangsters with our quiz.

Can Red Flag Laws Help Prevent Mass Killings?

Red flag laws allow police to seize the firearms of a person who is viewed as a potential threat to commit a violent act, without charging them with a crime. But how often do they prevent mass killings?

How Young Is Too Young to Be Arrested?

There's a huge police presence in the U.S. school systems today. But has that presence allowed educators to push off their management of school misconduct to the cops?

What Happens if Someone Is Murdered in Space?

As far as we know, it has never happened, but a murder in space would most definitely create numerous jurisdictional, legal and investigative complications.

The Ambush and Death of Gangster John Dillinger

Dillinger was named Public Enemy No. 1 by the FBI, but, in the end, it was a woman who set him up and brought him down.

Jeffrey Epstein's Death Highlights the High Rate of Suicide In U.S. Jails

The suicide rate in American jails is triple that of the general population. It comes down to something called "the shock of confinement." What is that and how can suicides be prevented in jails?

Who Watches Neighborhood Watch Programs?

The National Neighborhood Watch Program was originally established in 1972 as a local response to neighborhood crime. How has the idea evolved over time?

6 Famous Literary Forgeries and How They Were Discovered

Forgery is one of the most difficult crimes to successfully carry off. But these six sure tried. What tripped them up?

Prison Food Is Way Worse Than You'd Expect

The food we're feeding those incarcerated in the U.S. prison system is not only bad for their health, but it's also bad for John Q. Taxpayer's wallet.

Mitsuye Endo: The Woman Who Took Down Executive Order 9066

You probably don't know her name, but Mitsuye Endo was the plaintiff in the landmark lawsuit that ultimately led to the closing of the U.S. Japanese internment camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

How and Why Are Documents Redacted?

The big blacked-out sections of the Mueller report are calling attention to redaction. The process of redaction can be sophisticated or simple. And sometimes, not completely fool-proof.