Criminal Justice Reference – Terminology, Definitions, and Study Guides

Criminal Justice Terms, Glossaries, and Definitions

Famous Court Cases

  • McCulloch v. Maryland: This Supreme Court case found that state law was subordinate to federal law.
  • Plessy v. Ferguson: The Supreme Court found in this case that “separate but equal” laws for blacks and whites were constitutional, forming the legal rationale behind segregation.
  • Schenck v. United States: The Supreme Court found that the freedom of speech could be limited in cases of “clear and present danger.”
  • Powell v. Alabama: In this Supreme Court case, the Court ruled that legal counsel is required in death penalty cases.
  • Miranda v. Arizona: In this Supreme Court case, the right to avoid self-incrimination and the rights of an individual accused of a crime were defined.
  • Roe v. Wade: The Supreme Court defined the right to privacy to include a woman's right to procure a legal abortion.

The Criminal Justice System in the United States

  • United States Courts: The US Courts website provides information on federal courts, federal rules and policies, judges, and statistics.
  • United States Sentencing Commission: This commission establishes the federal court system sentencing guidelines. The commission website provides federal sentencing statistics.
  • Judicial Procedure: This site gives the full text of Title 28 of the US Code, which details the organization of courts, the Department of Justice, court officers, jurisdiction, and procedure.
  • The Federal Bureau of Prisons: This website gives reports on the inmates of federal prisons, prison conditions, drug treatment programs, education programs, and recidivism rates.
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms: Part of the US Department of Justice, ATF partners with state and local law enforcement agencies to investigate arms trafficking, the illegal use of explosives, arson, bombings, terrorism, and the illegal sale of alcohol and tobacco.
  • US Marshals Service: The US Marshals is the country's oldest law enforcement agency and functions as the federal court system's enforcement arm. The Marshals protect judicial officials, apprehend fugitives, administer the witness protection program, and transports and houses prisoners.

Rights of Citizens: The Bill of Rights

Criminal Justice Statistics

  • Criminal Justice Statistics: Statistics from the National Institute of Corrections. Documents include reports and statistics on sentencing and corrections by state, mortality in jails, juvenile justice and court statistics by state, and probation and parole.
  • Federal Statistics: Statistics on convictions and investigations by the FBI, DEA, IRS, ATF, and DHS.
  • Juvenile Statistics: Statistics on juvenile crimes, arrests, convictions, and sentences.
  • Statistical Abstract: The US Census Bureau's Statistical Abstract on law enforcement, courts, and prisons. The Abstract is a summary of data from the US Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and other federal agencies.

Criminal Justice Information by State

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