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.


What makes a person not only murder, but murder multiple people over days, weeks and even years? There's a special name for these types of murderers: serial killers.

From the Zodiac killer to Jack the Ripper, many disturbed criminals have never been caught. These crimes became well-known in history because the crimes remain unsolved and the case technically remains open. Read about 9 of history's coldest cases.

Sometimes a strange law gets on the record books and just never gets taken off. Learn about 20 silly and unusual U.S. laws that haven't gone away.

Such famous artworks as 'Mona Lisa' and 'The Scream' have been stolen and returned; some have never been found. Art burglars either keep the artwork for themselves, or try to ransom it back to the original owner. Learn about 7 notorious art thefts.

Eggs may contain eggs. Pepper spray may cause eye irritation. Toy broomsticks cannot really fly. OK, we made that one up -- or did we? Join us in bafflement as you make your way through these 11 absurd warnings.

It seems impossible to lose something so valuable, but it has been done -- more than once. See our list of the world's greatest missing treasures, including The Amber Room and Pharaohs' Missing Treasure.

Today, some police forces are using virtual reality technology to capture and recreate crime scenes digitally. They've discovered that, if used properly, virtual environments help the investigation process from its earliest stages all the way to a verdict.

In their own vision of themselves, Yakuza descend from Robin-Hood-like characters who defended villages from bandits. Today, they operate as a collection of criminal gangs.

Interpol is an international police agency that tracks criminals across national borders. Lean about Interpol and find out how Interpol is organized.

A SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team is an elite unit within a police force, used for exceptional situations that require increased firepower or specialized tactics. Find out how SWAT team members train, what gear they use and how they conduct raids.

The United States is renowned for having one of the most sophisticated judicial systems in the world. Every day thousands of people take part in this system, hoping to settle disputes and work for justice. Learn how the U.S. judicial system works.

As an abstract term, prison is quite simple, but for anyone who has ever done time, it's incredibly complex. Learn what life is like inside prisons in the United States.

Police fired 50 shots at three apparently unarmed men in a car leaving a bachelor party in New York this weekend, and investigators still aren't sure why.

According to a 2005 report by the Department of Justice, there are at least 21,500 gangs and more than 731,000 active gang members in the United States. Learn how and why street gangs form.

Profiling can be an effective method that is used to capture criminals at large. Learn about the different types of profiling, see how police officers and criminal investigators create and use profiles and explore the controversy surrounding the practice.

In August 2006, John Mark Karr confessed to the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. But some wondered whether the confession was accurate. Learn why people might confess to a crime that they didn't do.

The TV show "Prison Break" is the story of a structural engineer named Michael Scofield who gets himself locked up so that he can help his brother escape death row. Learn about some amazing real-life escapes.

Aye, matey! Hold on to your peg leg as we look at how pirates work, whether they're robbing and plundering in the 17th century or the 21st. We'll look at past and present definitions of piracy and the laws that deal with modern pirates.

Getting someone to confess to a crime is not a simple task. Find out how skilled interrogators can get even the most hardened criminal to 'fess up.

Police chases may seem glamorous on TV, but in real-life they are actually highly regulated by law enforcement codes of conduct. Find out how officers decide whether to commit to a chase, who is liable if a bystander is injured and what else they do.

A hostage situation places innocent civilians directly in harm's way, and armed intervention places the hostages at even greater risk. Learn how a skilled negotiator uses psychology, instinct and deception to achieve a peaceful end.

The Federal Witness Security Program protects crucial witnesses. How do you erase one identity and create a whole new one? Find out how the Witness Security Program "relocates" witnesses and their families.

Bounty hunting is a legitimate business and an integral part of the American justice system. Find out how bounty hunting works and follow bounty hunter Bob Burton on the search for a fugitive.

Learn all about how the Mafia is structured, how it operates, how it formed, how it has evolved and which law-enforcement methods have been effective against this type of organized crime.

The best form of riot control is prevention: Often, a passive but strong police presence can keep a "gathering" from turning into a "riot." But sometimes, a spark ignites a flame. Learn how police and military forces handle a riot.