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The Criminal justice Portal

Scales of Justice
Criminal justice is the system of, practices, and organizations, used by national and local governments, directed at maintaining social control, deterring and controlling crime, and sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties. The primary agencies charged with these responsibilities are law enforcement (police and prosecutors), courts, defense attorneys and local jails and prisons which administer the procedures for arrest, charging, adjudication and punishment of those found guilty. When processing the accused through the criminal justice system, government must keep within the framework of laws that protect individual rights. The pursuit of criminal justice is, like all forms of "justice," "fairness" or "process," essentially the pursuit of an ideal. Throughout history, criminal justice has taken on many different forms which often reflect the cultural mores of society.
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The Red Barn, scene of the murder
The Red Barn Murder was a notorious murder committed in Suffolk, England in 1827. A young woman, Maria Marten, was shot dead by her lover, William Corder, the son of the local squire. The two had arranged to meet at the Red Barn, a local landmark, before eloping to Ipswich in order to be married. Maria was never heard from again. Corder fled the scene and although he sent Marten's family letters claiming she was in good health, her body was later discovered buried in the barn after her stepmother claimed to have dreamt about the murder. Corder was tracked down in London, where he had married and started a new life. He was brought back to Suffolk, and, after a well-publicised trial, found guilty of murder. He was hanged in Bury St. Edmunds in 1828; the execution was watched by a huge crowd. The story provoked numerous articles in the newspapers, and songs and plays. The village where the crime had taken place became a tourist attraction and the barn was stripped by souvenir hunters. The plays and ballads remained popular throughout the next century and continue to be performed today.

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Kilmainham Gaol
Credit: Sean Munson

Kilmainham Gaol (Irish: Príosún Chill Mhaighneann) is a former prison, located in Inchicore in Dublin, which is now a museum. It has been run since the mid-1980's by the Office of Public Works (O.P.W.), an Irish Government agency. Kilmainham Gaol has played an important part in Irish history, as many leaders of Irish rebellions were imprisoned and some executed in the jail. The jail has also been used as a set for several films.


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Seung-Hui Cho (January 18, 1984April 16, 2007) was a student at Virginia Tech who committed mass murder of 32 people and wounded 25 others in the shooting rampage which has come to be known as the Virginia Tech massacre. Cho committed suicide after law enforcement officers breached the doors of the building where he had killed and injured his victims. Cho was a South Korean national who had permanent resident status in the United States, where he arrived at a young age with his family. He was diagnosed with a severe form of an anxiety disorder known as selective mutism in middle school, as well as depression. In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine convened a panel consisting of various officials and experts to investigate and examine the response and handling of issues related to the Virginia Tech shootings. The panel released its final report in August 2007, devoting more than 30 pages to detailing Cho's troubled history. In the report, the panel criticized numerous failures — by school administrators, educators and mental health professionals who came into contact with Cho during his college years and who failed to notice his deteriorating condition and help him. The panel also criticized misinterpretations of privacy laws and gaps in Virginia's mental health system and gun laws. In addition, the panel faulted Virginia Tech administrators in particular for failing to take immediate action after the first shootings.

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  • WikiProject Crime and Criminal Biography
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Gustave Flaubert
Some people commit a crime for no other reason than to see their name in print.

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