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Introduction

In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term "crime" does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition, though statutory definitions have been provided for certain purposes. The most popular view is that crime is a category created by law; in other words, something is a crime if declared as such by the relevant and applicable law. One proposed definition is that a crime or offence (or criminal offence) is an act harmful not only to some individual but also to a community, society or the state ("a public wrong"). Such acts are forbidden and punishable by law.

The notion that acts such as murder, rape and theft are to be prohibited exists worldwide. What precisely is a criminal offence is defined by criminal law of each country. While many have a catalogue of crimes called the criminal code, in some common law countries no such comprehensive statute exists.

The state (government) has the power to severely restrict one's liberty for committing a crime. In modern societies, there are procedures to which investigations and trials must adhere. If found guilty, an offender may be sentenced to a form of reparation such as a community sentence, or, depending on the nature of their offence, to undergo imprisonment, life imprisonment or, in some jurisdictions, execution.

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Paragraph 175 (known formally as §175 StGB) was a provision of the German Criminal Code from May 15, 1871 to March 10, 1994, which made male homosexual sex a crime. The statute was amended numerous times. Nazi Germany greatly exacerbated its severity in 1935. East Germany reverted to the old version of the law in 1950, limited its effect to sex with youths under 18 in 1968, and abolished it entirely in 1988. West Germany retained the Nazi-era statute until 1969, when it was limited to "qualified cases"; it was further attenuated in 1973 and finally revoked entirely after German reunification in 1994. In some of its forms, the law also addressed zoophilia.

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Empty jury box in an American courtroom
Credit: Ken Lund

A jury is a sworn body of persons convened to render a rational, impartial verdict and a finding of fact on a legal question officially submitted to them, or to set a penalty or judgment in a jury trial of a court of law. The word "jury" originates in Latin, from "juris"-law. In French, it became "juri" a law body. The petit jury or trial jury hears the evidence in a case and decides the disputed facts and usually consists of 12 jurors, although Scotland uses 15 jurors in criminal trials.

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23 May 2019 –
John Walker Lindh, the first person to be convicted of a crime in the War on Terror, is released on probation from a U.S. federal prison after serving 17 years of a 20-year sentence. Lindh has refused to renounce Islamist extremism and will be on probation for three years. U.S. President Donald Trump condemns the early release. (CNN) (Associated Press)
21 May 2019 –
Dutch Minister of Justice and Security Mark Harbers resigns amid a scandal over a government report which played down crimes committed by asylum seekers in the country, including rapes and murders, which were placed under a category called "other". The omission was first highlighted by Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. (FRANCE 24)
18 May 2019 – Crime in Alabama
One person was killed and eight injured in a shooting after a dispute between two women at a large high school graduation party. The suspect is still at large. (Associated Press)
2 May 2019 –
Insys Therapeutics founder John Kapoor is found guilty of racketeering in an opioid-related bribery scheme. (BBC)
28 April 2019 – Crime in Tennessee
Seven people are found dead in Sumner County, Tennessee. The suspect, Michael Cummins, is in police custody. (WFTS)
28 April 2019 – Crime in Ohio
Four family members, three women and one man, were found shot to death in an apartment in West Chester Township, Ohio. The suspect remains at large. (NBC News)


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FBI fugitive photo
Katherine Ann Power (b. January 25, 1949) is an American ex-convict and long-time fugitive, who was placed on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Ten Most Wanted List in 1970, along with her accomplice Susan Edith Saxe, a fellow student at Brandeis University. The two participated in robberies at a Massachusetts National Guard armory and a bank in Brighton, Massachusetts where Boston police officer Walter Schroeder was shot and killed by one of their accomplices. These acts were to support protesting the war in Vietnam. Power remained at large for 23 years. In 1993, Katherine Ann Power negotiated a surrender with authorities and ended 23 years of hiding. Negotiations were carried out through her attorneys Steven Black, a public defender, and Rikki Klieman, a prominent Boston lawyer. On September 15, 1993, she pleaded guilty to two counts of armed robbery and manslaughter in Boston. Power was sentenced to eight to twelve years in prison for the bank robbery, and five years and a $10,000 fine for the National Guard armory crimes. Additionally, judge Robert Banks of Suffolk County Superior Court imposed a probation condition that Power could not profit from her crime. Power appealed this portion of the sentence on First Amendment grounds, but the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected the argument and the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari.

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W. E. B. Du Bois
The chief problem in any community cursed with crime is not the punishment of the criminal, but the preventing of the young from being trained to crime.

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