Department of Justice


federal executive division responsible for law enforcement and allied programs and services. Headed by the Attorney General of the United States, the department is the largest employer of lawyers, criminal investigators, and law enforcement agents in the nation. It maintains separate divisions for investigating and prosecuting cases under federal antitrust laws, civil rights laws, criminal laws (including those covering organized crime), environmental laws, tax laws, and others. In addition, several major agencies are under its control, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (q.v.), the Bureau of Prisons (q.v.), the Drug Enforcement Administration (q.v.), the Office of Justice Programs (q.v.), the U.S. Marshals Service (q.v.), and the U.S. National Central Bureau (USNCB), which represents the United States in INTERPOL, the International Criminal Police Organization. The department also maintains a civil division to represent the U.S. government in cases involving tort claims or commercial litigation, and an Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to assist in the development of community policing programs. The department also includes the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (q.v.).

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Cite this Entry

“Department of Justice.” Legal Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

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