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Portal:Criminal justice

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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 and rehabilitation. 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 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a bill of rights entrenched in the Constitution of Canada. It forms the first part of the Constitution Act, 1982, the Charter is intended to protect certain political and civil rights of people in Canada from the policies and actions of all levels of government. It is also supposed to unify Canadians around a set of principles that embody those rights, the Charter was preceded by the Canadian Bill of Rights, which was introduced by the government of John Diefenbaker in 1960. However, the Bill of Rights was only a federal statute, rather than a constitutional document, and therefore limited in scope and easily amendable. Hence, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's government enacted the Charter in 1982. One of the most notable effects of the adoption of the Charter was to greatly expand the scope of judicial review, the Court system of Canada, when confronted with violations of Charter rights, have struck down unconstitutional statutes or parts of statutes. However, the Charter granted new powers to the courts to enforce more creative remedies and to exclude more evidence in trials, as a result, the Charter has attracted both passionate support from liberals and criticisms by opponents of increased judicial power.

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Helsinki Police patrol boats in Katajanokka, Helsinki, Finland
Credit: Pöllö

A police boat is usually a small sea-faring vessel that is used by police agencies to patrol bodies of water. They are usually employed in enclosed harbors near cities or in places where a stronger police presence than that offered by the Coast Guard is needed.


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Virginia Tech memorial
Seung-Hui Cho (January 18, 1984 – April 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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Ralph Waldo Emerson
One man's justice is another's injustice; One man's beauty another's ugliness; One man's wisdom another's folly.

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