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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When most people think of the words "wine" and "toilet," they're probably not thinking about a fermentation strategy. But as countless prisoners over the years have discovered, when it comes to alcohol, if there's a will, there's a way.

By Laurie L. Dove

It could happen: As you're rushing to get to the airport, you absentmindedly throw a gassed-up chain saw into your suitcase. Or a bag of live eels. Yes, TSA officials really spotted these items at U.S. airports. And stranger things, too.

By Dave Roos

There are people willing to sneak grimy, dirty classified files and documents from under lock and key and into the disinfecting power of sunlight. Here are 10 people who went public with stories of hidden corruption.

By Nathan Chandler

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In the U.S., can you truly say anything you want, or are there limits? Who decides them? And might this change in the age of the globally connected village?

By Julia Layton

In the park. On the bus. At the mall. At your job. Is there any place you can go and not be watched? After reading this article, you may agree the answer is "no."

By Laurie L. Dove

Masked crime fighters aren't just the stuff of Marvel and DC comics and films. These characters may not have superpowers, but they feel the call to keep citizens safe and serve their communities.

By Maria Trimarchi

If you need an analogy for PRISM, one apt comparison would be to HBO's show "The Wire." Just swap "U.S. government" for Baltimore police, "Internet data" for phone wiretaps, and name the target as "really anyone" instead of drug traffickers. Got it?

By Kate Kershner

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There's no doubt the Boston bombings rattled the U.S. Should the country's policy makers be equally rattled by daily gun violence?

By John Perritano

The U.S. was quick to denounce 9/11 as an act of terrorism. Drawing the line between mass murder and terrorism isn't always that straightforward though.

By Kate Kershner

Baseball, taxes and unconscionable acts of mass violence. That's what April has been all about in recent decades. Are there really more acts of terrorism in April and if so, why?

By Chris Opfer

The hunt for the brothers Tsarnaev may have been the most intense one that Boston has seen in a long time, but law enforcement agencies have been practicing the art of getting their man (or woman) for centuries.

By Kate Kershner

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Sometimes the search for a fugitive can occupy a city. Other times, the hunt is fierce enough to dominate a nation, or even several countries. Which criminals can claim they spurred some of the craziest manhunts ever?

By Laurie L. Dove

Any viewer of a TV cop show has heard of the Miranda rights. They include the rights to remain silent, to have an attorney and so on. Why are they called the Miranda rights, and why must U.S. police recite them to arrestees?

By Julia Layton & Melanie Radzicki McManus

The Brady bill of 1993 established mandatory background checks for firearms purchases. But that only applies to Federal Firearms Licensees, not to private sellers. What's involved in a background check – and would expanding them lessen gun crime?

By Julia Layton

You've heard the stat reported by the Mother Jones team: Since 1982, there have been 62 mass shootings in America, crimes like the one that James Holmes is accused of. Only one of those shootings was carried out by a woman. Why?

By Kate Kershner

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Most people sentenced to death in the U.S. get at least one stay of execution. In one case, the stay came a minute too late because of a misdialed phone number. Here are 10 of the most unusual cases.

By Patrick J. Kiger

It's not always easy to convince a jury that someone didn't know right from wrong. Here are 10 of the world's most notable insanity defenses.

By Maria Trimarchi

It's a pretty straightforward question with an obvious answer, right? Well, yes, until you start peering at both federal and state laws. That's when things start to get interesting.

By Nicholas Gerbis

Numerous high-profile mass killings across the U.S. have made the debate over gun control even more heated. With so many studies and arguments out there, we inject some impartial facts in the gun control debate.

By Patrick J. Kiger

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Copycat crimes aren't a 21st-century phenomena. Some of the first ones were documented during the late 19th century, when cases like Jack the Ripper held the world's attention. What's new is the inordinate media attention. Does it change the game?

By John Perritano

Ask a card-carrying member of the NRA and you'll get one answer. Ask a participant in the Million Mom March and you'll get another. Ask us and you'll get the research that underlies this controversial topic.

By Patrick J. Kiger & Nicholas Gerbis

The terror network responsible for 9/11 has been around for decades, but it underwent a rapid transition after the death of its original leader, Osama bin Laden. What does the third act look like for al-Qaida?

By Kate Kershner

In Nov. 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington state voted to legalize marijuana, even though use of the drug is illegal under federal law. How will this be resolved and what's happened in previous cases with these kinds of contradictions?

By Becky Striepe

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Dive into the darkest corners of the world’s aging legislation and you’ll find statutes that will puzzle even the most lawful citizen. Case in point: prohibiting pretzels with beer.

By Chris Opfer

Sometimes the things that fascinate us most are dangerous. Attractive nuisances draw the attention of children and often cause injuries or even death. What everyday neighborhood features are likely to harm kids?

By Beth Brindle