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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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

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

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 member of Everytown for Gun Safety and you'll get another. We look at the research that underlies this controversial topic.

By Patrick J. Kiger & Nicholas Gerbis

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

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

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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

Riots may garner attention for people who feel frustrated and oppressed, but are they really effective? Here, we'll examine how riots work.

By Molly Edmonds

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, had a profound effect on the United States -- and the world. Trace the progression of events in this timeline.

By Nathan Chandler

Drugs are serious business, especially in Mexico. In fact, Mexican cartels have gone to great lengths to protect their turf, building Mad Max-style armored vehicles. What's the deal with these so-called narco tanks?

By Lance Looper

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The confusion and terror following the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center left many searching for answers. Some conspiracy theorists point to conflicting reports and murky political agendas in their alternative versions of the event.

By Jane McGrath

The events of Sept. 11, 2001, left America and much of the world wondering who could have been responsible for the devastating attacks. Who exactly hijacked and flew the planes, and how did they get involved with the plot?

By Jane McGrath