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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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How a Memorandum of Understanding Works

Say you're a government agency or a company of some sort and you want to negotiate the terms of a working relationship with another group or agency. However, you're not too enthused by the idea of lawyers, contracts and legalese. That's where Memoranda of Understanding come in. What are these MOUs, exactly, and who uses them?

Is it legal to sterilize addicts?

In the starkest terms, abuse and addiction cost money. It's expensive to treat and rehabilitate addicts, and it's costly to help the children affected. So, why have efforts to sterilize addicts come under fire?

Why are eyewitnesses unreliable?

Eyewitness testimony can play a big part in a criminal trial. The problem is that eyewitness accounts aren't always accurate. What makes them so faulty?

What makes a killer?

In murder-mystery TV shows, detectives look for clues to find the killer. Part of that involves getting into the murderer's mind-set. What factors make it easier for one person to take the life of another?

What is justice?

The word "justice" appears in many of the United States' most important documents, including the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. But for a word that's used so often, its precise definition is still a topic of debate.

How are terrorists tracked, and what does it cost?

Terrorists work very hard to remain undetected. After all, if we knew where they were, we could stop them from attacking. But they usually work in small groups, or even alone. How do law enforcement officials track them down?

10 Notable Copycat Killers

The media saturates us with stories of violence, but most people leave them on the page or screen. So what made these copycat killers act out?

Top 10 Public Enemies

Public enemies threaten the well-being of the populace, committing serial murders, genocide or financial piracy. What 10 public enemies make our list?

Public Enemy Pictures

The bad, the worse and the worst. You name 'em, we've caught 'em. Check out some of the most notorious criminals in U.S. history, from gangsters to con men to bandits in love.

Controlled Substance Pictures

The fight against illegal drugs is a constant thorn in the side of just about every police department in the country. This gallery features pictures of some controlled substances.

10 Controversial Court Cases

If justice is blind, then why do some court decisions spark outrage and violence? Even with an impartial jury, court cases don't always go according to plan.

How Bioterrorism Works

When an anthrax attack just after Sept. 11 killed five people and infected 18 more, U.S. residents were sent into a bioterrorism panic. Bioterrorism has actually been around for many centuries, but we keep finding new ways to combat it.

What makes evidence inadmissible in court?

In the United States, the Federal Rules of Evidence determine whether a piece of evidence can be considered at trial. There are three main criteria for entering a statement or object as evidence at trial: relevance, materiality, and competence.

How the Future Crime Database Will Work

The police knock on your door, and a knot forms in your stomach when you're told the reason for the handcuffs: You're being arrested for a crime you haven't committed -- yet.

How U.S. Criminal Records Work

Does the mere mention of a criminal record invoke thoughts of something sinister to you? As it turns out, having a criminal record in the United States isn't as uncommon as it once was.

What was the Prison Project?

What if your pen pal was a prison inmate? That's the idea behind a prison project designed to connect middle school students with prisoners. What influence did these pen pals have on kids?

How Prison Telecommunications Work

Prisons spy on inmates' telephone conversations to make sure the crooks aren't trafficking drugs or organizing gang riots from behind bars. But does this monitoring infringe on their rights?

How Alcatraz Worked

The most high-tech prison of its day, built on an island of rock and fortified by concrete and steel, Alcatraz was created to house the worst of the worst.

Police Pictures

The police department is one of the most important civil services in just about every community. This collection of pictures showcases some of the most important aspects of police departments.

How could someone steal a painting from a museum?

With modern security, how can thieves walk out of a museum with millions of dollars worth of art? It usually just takes force and a little bravado.

10 Largest Diamond Heists

A diamond heist is no mere robbery. It's a feat of patience and engineering that yields enormous payouts. So what are the 10 largest heists?

How Criminal Recycling Works

There's a growing band of lawbreakers in town tarnishing recycling's squeaky green reputation. Who are these criminals, and why are they desperate for copper?

How Diamond Thieves Work

Diamond thieves can be clever criminals who orchestrate multimillion-dollar heists or small-time jewelers who switch the real thing for fakes. What makes stealing a diamond so attractive?

What happens to weapons confiscated at the airport?

Follow the trail of your prized Swiss Army knife as it leaves your pockets at airport security and goes on to achieve eBay glory.

How do you keep a safe house safe?

Maybe you're an escaped criminal or an undercover spy. You're someone who needs to stay under the radar. What you need is a safe house.

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