Hate in Maryland: From racist taunts to swastikas to a campus stabbing, bias reports up sharply in state

The Baltimore Sun found that reports of hate crimes are on the rise in Maryland after a review of hundreds of pages of documents. Hate crimes increased 35% since 2016, the paper found, and rose to a pace of more than one report per day.  The statewide increase echoes a national trend. And while authorities…

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If you’ve suffered a crime, there’s state money to help. Good luck getting your hands on it.

New Jersey, like every other state, provides compensation to victims of crime or their survivors. But interviews with victims’ families and advocates, and a review of records, show the once-innovative program has morphed into an agency often at odds with its own charitable mission, building barriers to aid and too frequently finding reasons to deny…

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State crime lab under fire for hiding backlog of cases

A 12 News Investigation uncovered a forensic scientist at the Arizona state crime lab had intentionally hidden her backlog of cases for years, failed to test DNA submitted in 40 cases, and kept evidence in her possession.  However, after an audit and internal investigation revealed the misconduct, the Arizona Department of Public Safety never bothered…

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Unsanctioned horse racing flourishing in Colorado

A Fox31 investigation has uncovered a shadowy world of unsanctioned horse racing flourishing in rural Colorado. Using hidden cameras, reporters documented dangerous conditions for jockeys and spectators, widespread gambling, horse doping, and other abuses of the animals. However, local politicians and law enforcement are both turning a blind eye to the illegal activities, while some…

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Twin Cities’ checks of Uber, Lyft drivers appear to be hit or miss

A criminal record or history of bad driving won’t prevent people from becoming Uber or Lyft drivers in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The Star Tribune identified 176 drivers for the ride-sharing companies and found that nearly a third had committed offenses that violated Uber and Lyft’s hiring standards or violated ride-sharing ordinances in the top…

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Across Florida, families of the mentally ill are dying for help

A six-month investigation by the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale found that people with mental illness have killed or brutally assaulted at least 500 loved ones in Florida since 2000. During that time, Florida’s spending on mental health programs has declined significantly. While family members struggle to seek medical help for a mentally ill loved…

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Pretrial diversion offers defendants a second chance – if they can pay

Pretrial diversion is designed to alleviate crowded courts and jails, and help low-risk defendants avoid the damaging consequences that come with a criminal record. But an investigation by The New York Times found that diversion programs vary widely from state to state and that second chances are often only granted to those who can afford…

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Designed for fairness, Florida’s sentencing system fails to account for prejudice

“Bias on the Bench,” a yearlong investigation by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, found that judges across Florida sentence black defendants to longer punishment than whites, even when they committed the same crimes under almost identical circumstances. The four-part series shows that racial inequalities in criminal sentencing are rampant throughout Florida. Blacks are found guilty more often…

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Police pursuits lead to a shocking number of deaths every year

In 2014, four police pursuits ended in four separate deaths: a 75-year-old Navy veteran, a 42-year-old nursing assistant, a grandmother, and a speeding motorcyclist. All four chases happened within four miles of one another. And all shared one other characteristic: Everyone killed was black. A first-of-its-kind investigation by USA TODAY revealed that, on average, 90…

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