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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.

Topics to Explore

Learn More / Page 7

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.

If I'm on a cruise ship, what laws do I have to adhere to?

Because of the murkiness of maritime law, it's hard to pursue crimes committed on cruise ships. What makes it so easy to get away with a crime on the high seas?

How State Troopers Work

State troopers are associated with highway patrol, but their duties extend past the asphalt. They are involved in everything from highway enforcement to criminal investigations. What else are state troopers involved in?

Why is habeas corpus important?

Even if you've heard the term, you may not know how important habeas corpus is to the U.S. Constitution. How can an ancient Latin phrase for "you have the body" be so relevant today?

How Police Academies Work

Standard training at your neighborhood police academy: Spritz each recruit in the face with pepper spray. Think you can take it? Maybe you're cut out for the force.

10 Terribly Bungled Crimes

Every once in a while, we read about an amazing heist that required skill, cunning and thought. But for every one of those, there are those that fail horribly.

Can an MRI machine also act as a lie detector?

It's possible that an MRI lie detector could detect truthfulness more accurately than a polygraph machine. How would it work?

How Serial Killers Work

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.

Nine of History's Coldest Cases

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.

20 Silly and Unusual U.S. Laws

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.

7 Notorious Art Thefts

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.

11 Stupid Legal Warnings

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.

6 of the World's Greatest Missing Treasures

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.

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