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Introduction

United States criminal justice system flowchart.

Criminal justice is the delivery of justice to those who have committed crimes. The criminal justice system is a series of government agencies and institutions whose goals are to identify and catch unlawful individuals to inflict a form of punishment on them. Other goals include the rehabilitation of offenders, preventing other crimes, and moral support for victims. The primary institutions of the criminal justice system are the police, prosecution and defense lawyers, the courts and prisons.

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Damage to the Murrah building before cleanup began
The Oklahoma City bombing was a terrorist attack on April 19, 1995 aimed at the U.S. government in which the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed in an office complex in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The attack claimed 168 lives and left over 800 injured. Until the September 11, 2001 attacks, it was the deadliest act of terrorism on U.S. soil. Shortly after the explosion, an Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer stopped 26-year-old Timothy McVeigh for driving without a license plate and unlawfully carrying a weapon. Within days after the bombing, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were both arrested for their roles in the bombing. Investigators determined that McVeigh and Nichols were sympathizers of an anti-government militia movement and that their motive was to avenge the government's handling of the Waco and Ruby Ridge incidents (the bombing occurred on the anniversary of the Waco incident). McVeigh was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001. Nichols was sentenced to life in prison. A third conspirator, Michael Fortier, who testified against the two conspirators, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for failing to warn the U.S. government. As with other large scale terrorist attacks, conspiracy theories dispute the official claims and point to additional perpetrators involved. The attacks led to widespread rescue efforts from local, state, and federal agencies, along with considerable donations from across the country.

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U.S. Army CID special agents at a crime scene
Credit: U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command

A crime scene is a location where an illegal act took place, and comprises the area from which most of the physical evidence is retrieved by trained law enforcement personnel, CSIs or in rare circumstances forensic scientists.

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Ethel and Julius Rosenberg after their conviction
Julius Rosenberg (May 12, 1918 – June 19, 1953) and Ethel Greenglass Rosenberg (September 28, 1915 – June 19, 1953) were American Communists who received international attention when they were executed having been found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage in relation to passing information on the American nuclear bomb to the Soviet Union. The guilt of the Rosenbergs and the appropriateness of their sentence have been controversial and a subject of perennial debate amongst scholars. However, information released since the end of the Cold War seems to confirm the charges of espionage against Julius and, to a lesser extent, Ethel.

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Ingjald using quickfire in process of unifying Sweden

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Bust of Marcus Aurelius
Poverty is the mother of crime.

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