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If you've watched just about any mob movie in the last 30 years or so, you've heard the phrase "witness protection program." It either involves a former gangster going in (like the end of Goodfellas) or comically navigating his new life (like My Blue Heaven). There are all kinds of conditions like changing names and moving to the suburbs, and always the risk of whomever the gangster is testifying against hunting them down.

But how does witness protection actually work? Here's a look.

Parents do their best to keep their kids out of trouble. Sadly, the best isn't always good enough. For a multitude of reasons, children can turn to rebellious, illegal activities during their teenage years, even going so far as to join gangs.

If those gangs are engaged in criminal activity, parents should rightly be concerned, not only for their teens' criminal liability but for their own. Here's what you need to know.

Drug addiction can be tragic, and can take a personal toll on addicts and their families. And when the addiction spills over into the criminal realm, it can impact their communities as well. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, almost a quarter of prisoners incarcerated on property and drug crimes say they committed their current offense to obtain money for drugs.

Here are some of the most common crimes drug addicts commit, aside from the general, addiction-funding property crimes:

When it comes to the criminal justice system, most people accept the fact that a plea bargain is the only guaranteed way to avoid more serious consequences. Despite a person's innocence, accepting a deal is often the most expedient, and certainly the most certain, end to a scary situation. Trials are uncertain, and being found guilty at trial generally involves lengthier or harsher sentencing.

However, how good a plea bargain will be often depends on who's negotiating on a defendant's behalf. While some deals may be too good to pass up, others can have grave consequences that impact every facet of a person's life.

Getting sentenced to probation, or getting paroled, can be quite the relief for individuals convicted of a crime. Unfortunately, for some probationers and parolees, their assigned probation officer, or parole officer, can often make life miserable.

While probation officers are supposed to stick to just the court ordered monitoring, horror stories of corruption abound. Whether it's a probationer being coerced into sex, or a parolee being bribed to avoid a false report of a parole violation, the formerly incarcerated often don't know who to turn to for help, or what proof they need to show.

When Lester Packingham, Jr. pleaded guilty in 2002 to taking indecent liberties with a child following a sexual relationship he had with a 13-year-old girl while he was 21, social media didn't exist. Facebook wouldn't go online for another two years, and a North Carolina ordinance prohibiting registered sex offenders from accessing any "commercial social networking Web site where the sex offender knows that the site permits minor children to become members or to create or maintain personal Web pages" wouldn't be enacted for another six.

Still, Packingham was convicted of violating that statute in 2010, when he took to Facebook to say that "God is Good!" after having a traffic ticket dismissed. Packingham challenged his conviction on First Amendment grounds and the Supreme Court agreed, ruling state laws banning registered sex offenders from social media sites like Facebook are unconstitutional.

After a criminal conviction, or being released from custody, a person usually must 'walk on thin ice' for a varied length of time. That's usually due to being on probation or parole.

Sadly, when probationers and parolees violate the terms of their parole or probation, they can end up facing time in custody. Probation, or parole, officers are tasked with regularly meeting with individuals and reporting violations to the courts. As such, individuals often wonder whether they can record their meetings with a parole or probation officer, as they would with a police officer conducting a traffic stop.

Every year, people in federal and state parks end up in cuffs because they didn't realize that park rangers, or park police, are real law enforcement officers. Park rangers, park police, and even game wardens and other officials, not only have the authority to arrest you themselves, but they can also refer your matter to local law enforcement as well.

However, it is important to note a distinction between official officers and security guards. Particularly during the peak times of camping season, or at private camp grounds, some parks may hire private security guards to help out. Security guards should be easily distinguishable from real officers, and, like the ones found on college campuses, may still have more authority than one might expect. Security guards are often authorized to detain a person until real officers arrive.

Nearly every local news station is always ready, willing, and able to help law enforcement locate a "person of interest" for a criminal investigation. After all, crime reporting, particularly unsolved mysteries, makes for good television and even better ratings. But what is a "person of interest" anyway?

The phrase is intentionally vague, but the common understanding is that it refers to a suspected criminal, especially when it is used in the context of a criminal investigation. Sometimes, the phrase can refer to a witness to a crime that has gone missing and needs to be located, but even then, individuals tend to associate the phrase with suspected criminals.

A Massachusetts judge found 18-year-old Michelle Carter guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of her friend, Conrad Roy III. Roy committed suicide in July 14, in part, as the court ruled, because of Carter's text messages encouraging him to kill himself.

The verdict stunned some legal experts and the case raised some thorny issues regarding criminal liability for suicide, free speech, and technology.