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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If Abraham Lincoln ended slavery in the United States, why is so much money still being made to sell others into bondage? Here, we'll examine how human trafficking works.

By Molly Edmonds

Police sketches may be a routine part of law enforcement investigations, but they've been key to solving some extraordinary cases. How do forensic artists create these renderings, and how reliable are they, really? Find out in How Police Sketches Work.

By Cristen Conger

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?

By Nathan Chandler

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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?

By Josh Clark

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?

By Charles W. Bryant

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?

By Jonathan Strickland

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.

By Molly Edmonds

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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?

By Jonathan Strickland

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?

By Josh Clark & Laurie L. Dove

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.

By Cristen Conger

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.

By John Fuller

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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.

By Shanna Freeman

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.

By Brette Sember

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?

By Jane McGrath

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?

By Jane McGrath

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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.

By Ed Grabianowski

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.

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.

By Julia Layton

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?

By Julia Layton & Nathan Chandler

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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?

By Jennifer Horton

Diamonds might be a girl's best friend, but thieves like them too. Find out how they orchestrate multimillion-dollar heists and how jewelers switch the real thing for fakes.

By Julia Layton & Carrie Whitney, Ph.D.

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

By Jennifer Horton

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.

By John Fuller

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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?

By Cristen Conger

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?

By Josh Clark