Small town in Ohio plagued by sex trafficking and local corruption

A team of Cincinnati Enquirer journalists spent more than a year in this small Rust Belt city two hours east of Cincinnati to investigate allegations of a sex trafficking ring. The findings corroborate what federal law enforcement agents first alleged four years ago – that a local defense lawyer and former city councilman lured women…

Read more »

How to find and use data to cover the lower courts

By Ashley Balcerzak Reporters write story after story about the vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat left by Antonin Scalia. But many news outlets overlook the benches in their local areas that can impact their communities much more directly: municipal courts. During the IRE panel “Do criminal and municipal courts treat defendants fairly?” Kendall Taggart from BuzzFeed News, Ted Gest…

Read more »

IRE Radio Podcast | Killed by the Cops

How many times a year do police kill people? And what happens to officers after they fire a fatal shot? Those were just some of the questions prompted by the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York. On this episode of the IRE Radio Podcast we’ll be talking to…

Read more »

New York newspaper asks judge to force release of license plate data

The Democrat & Chronicle is fighting a county’s denial to provide license plate information about seven newspaper employees and a couple government-owned vehicles, the paper reports. The Rochester, New York-based paper has reported that Monroe County is indiscriminately amassing license-plate information from high-speed cameras. During the summer, a reporter filed a Freedom of Information Law…

Read more »

Appeals court upholds denial of FOIA request for detainee’s photo

A U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a Freedom of Information Act request denial to grant photos and other materials showing Guantanamo Bay prisoner Mohammed al-Qahtani to the Center for Constitutional Rights. Al-Qahtani is the alleged would-be 20th hijacker on 9/11 and one of the highest profile U.S. detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The panel ruled that…

Read more »

Don’t miss at IRE 2013: Criminal Justice investigations

The 2013 IRE Conference in San Antonio features several panels on criminal justice reporting, including the following sponsored by Criminal Justice Journalists: Criminal justice and gunsFeaturing Gerardo Reyes of Univision, Raquel Rutledge of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and moderator Ted Gest of Criminal Justice Journalists Criminal justice and prisonsFeaturing Scott Henson of the Grits for Breakfast…

Read more »

Much judicial secrecy in Consumer Protection Safety Commission case

Two years ago, the federal Consumer Protection Safety Commission launched saferproducts.gov, an online tool for consumers to review complaints and warnings about hazardous products. Since it launched, Fair Warning reports, the first lawsuit by a business attempting to conceal a complaint is “blazing new trails in judicial secrecy.” “Thanks to closed-door hearings, sealed records and…

Read more »

IRE & NICAR Office Holiday Schedule

Most of our staff will be in and out of the office during the holidays from Thursday 12/20 through Wednesday 1/2. If you need assistance, please e-mail or leave a voice mail and your call will be answered as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience during this time.

Behind the Story: An information gap in child abuse cases

There were signs of problems before 15-year-old Jeanette Maples died of starvation and abuse in Oregon in December 2009.  Although child services had been involved in the case, residents were shocked to find that Maples death had not been prevented.  Oregonian reporter Michelle Cole wanted to know what, if anything, could have been done to…

Read more »

Behind the Story: Battling attorneys and judges for documents

Photo credit:Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times In a season of cutbacks, Seattle Times reporter Christine Willmsen was surprised to see the state government proposing a budget increase. “I noted an add-on of an addition of over $20 million, and I thought that was odd,” Willmsen said. The budget listed a line item increase for civil commitment,…

Read more »