"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
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FAQ Contents

It was Sex Crimes. However, this title was dropped for obvious reasons.

17 although the greater the age gap between victim and suspect the more seriously it is regarded and punished. 18 is the federal limit for appearing in pornography.

They largely deal with sex crimes but they also deal with child, handicapped and elderly victims of non-sexual crimes who require specialist handling.

Christopher Meloni who played him could not agree a new contract with the producers and left the series. Within the show this was explained as Stabler resigning from the NYPD off-screen because of the trauma of having to kill a young girl during a shootout at the SVU squad-room.

1PP=1 Police Plaza, NYPD headquarters.

Bus=paramedic ambulance

CI=confidential informant

COD - cause of death

ESU=Emergency Services Unit, the NYPD's equivalent of a SWAT team.

Fishing expedition=when the police conduct a search they must have a definitive object in mind, they cannot just search in the hope of turning up some random evidence.

'Fruit of the poisoned tree'=evidence that has been obtained improperly which may therefore be excluded from court. For instance a police officer searches a suspect and finds a weapon which is then linked to a murder. However the search is then ruled to be illegal due to insufficient grounds so the defence can argue that the evidence of the weapon should not be allowed to be introduced as part of the murder case.

Habeas Corpus=Latin for 'produce the body', that the accused should be able to confront their accuser in court, a legal principle dating back all the way to Magna Carta.

Hearsay=second hand witness testimony, a person repeating what they heard another say.

Lawyer up=a suspect who invokes their right to not say anything and await their lawyer which the justice system will provide them

Miranda=the formal warning police are required to give suspects on arrest advising them of their right to remain silent, have legal council etc.

Probable cause=the police having a reasonable degree of evidence to justify their actions.

TOD - time of death

Tombs=custody cells

At least 4. Roger Barry in 'Redemption' (S3 Ep6), Lincoln Harer in 'Closet' (S9 Ep16), Malcom Esten in 'Unstable' (S11 Ep 1) and Omar Pena in 'Justice Denied' (S13 Ep 17) .

American law allows for the 'false deception ploy' where the police can claim to have evidence (fingerprints, DNA, CCTV, witnesses) they do not in order to gain a confession, the idea being that any innocent person would know such evidence could not exist and see through it. This has become increasingly controversial however due to cases such as the Central Park 5 rape case where the suspects were told their co-defendants were saying they were responsible so they accused them in turn only to be exonerated years later.

No, they can enter in hot pursuit, to preserve life, to prevent imminent destruction of evidence or to search for a wanted felon. They need a search warrant for evidence when those elements do not apply.

The police will arrest and interview suspects if they think there is sufficient evidence against them. It is then up to the District Attorney (DA) to decide if there is enough evidence to charge. If there is the DA will bring the accused before a Judge for an arraignment hearing, to decide when and where they will be put on trial and if they will get bail (released either on their own word or with a monetary security deposit) or be held in custody in the meantime. Afterwards the DA will go before the Grand Jury and present their case and the Grand Jury decides if there is enough evidence to justify them going to trial. The prosecution has the duty of disclosure, presenting all their evidence to the defence for them to be able to refute. The onus for conviction is on the prosecution to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant doesn't have to prove their innocence, its up to the prosecution to establish their guilt. The defence lawyers have a duty of confidentiality towards their clients much like a doctor but there are exceptions such as information which threatens life. As officers of the court both defence and prosecution have a responsibility to report any malpractice in the system.

The Bush administration introduced laws to counter child sex tourism, making it an offence to travel to a foreign country in order to have sex with anyone who would be underage in the United States (the age of consent in countries like Germany is 14 and as low as 12 in some parts of Mexico). However this has proved extremely hard to enforce as it is necessary to prove their specific intent for the trip rather than them forming the idea once they were abroad. The same principle applies to transporting minor across state lines, it must be proven that the intent was to have sex with them in a state where it would be legal.

Jeffries was forced to take a different position because of her deteriorating mental state. During a psych interview which she assumed was confidential, she admitted to having sex with a suspect outside of work, compromising her reliability and reputation in SVU. Stabler was also a concern, but after a few counseling sessions, he was left alone to continue his work.

Munch eventually retired but makes occasional reappearances in the show. His removal may have had to do with the actor (Richard Belzer) wanting to pursue other work, or it may have been decided that he was too old to be realistically working in law enforcement anymore. Nonetheless, Munch has appeared on other shows such as "Homicide" and "The X-Files".


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