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  • A term derived from the Latin custodire, “to guard.” In the criminal justice system, a person is taken into custody or seized after law enforcement effects an arrest or after a reasonable person does not feel free to leave during questioning or subsequent detainment by law enforcement. The suspect's information, such as name, age, race, criminal charge, and so forth, and his or her photograph and fingerprints are entered into the computer system. The suspect may also be interrogated or asked to stand in a lineup. In the United States, custody procedures are dictated under the Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures.


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