Crooked cops and crime labs

  • Event: 2018 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Melissa Segura of BuzzFeed News; Ryan Gabrielson of ProPublica; Ted Gest of Criminal Justice Journalists; Mark Fazlollah of The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Date/Time: Thursday, Jun. 14 at 10:15am
  • Location: Crystal E
  • Audio file: No audio file available.

Serious cases of corrupt police officers continue to pop up nationwide, from a Chicago detective accused of framing more than 50 people for murder charges to a secret list of Philadelphia officers who prosecutors won't call as witnesses because of a history of false testimony or other legal problems. At the same time, there are serious doubts about the validity of certain forensic evidence types such as hair fiber, and about the results of unreliable crime lab tests that are cited in court. We'll discuss how to find these cases, what experts to consult, and what records to request.

Speaker Bios

  • Mark Fazlollah has been a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer since 1987. He won national awards for articles on the under-reporting of crimes in Philadelphia and for coverage of the Iran-Contra scandal. Before joining the Inquirer, he worked in Latin America for United Press International the Daily Telegraph of London.

  • Ryan Gabrielson is a reporter for ProPublica covering the U.S. justice system. His work has received numerous national honors, including a Pulitzer Prize, two George Polk Awards, a Livingston Award for national reporting, the Al Nakkula Award for Police Reporting and a pair of Sigma Delta Chi Awards.

  • Ted Gest is president of Criminal Justice Journalists and Washington bureau chief of, which publishes a daily news digest on criminal justice. He formerly covered criminal justice for U.S. News & World Report and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He is the co-author of the latest edition of IRE's "Understanding Crime and Justice Statistics: A Reporter's Guide." 

  • Melissa Segura is an investigative reporter with BuzzFeed News and an Emerson Fellow at New America. In 2018, she won the George Polk Award for local reporting and was a finalist for Harvard's Goldsmith Award for her landmark investigation detailing how a Chicago detective is accused of framing more than 50 people for murder. Since publication, 10 men have been exonerated. In 2019, the Innocence Network recognized Segura as Journalist of the Year. @MelissaDSegura

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