Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "Jacksonville" ...

  • Walking While Black

    “Walking While Black,” a meticulously researched and powerful reporting project, showed Jacksonville's enforcement of pedestrian violations to be racially disproportionate. Using hard-won data from a variety of local and state agencies, Topher Sanders and Ben Conarck, both veterans of reporting in Jacksonville, showed the disparities across every category of pedestrian tickets in Duval County. They then found those ticketed, and chronicled the impact — on their driver’s licenses, on their credit ratings, on their day to day ability to work and raise families in a city notorious for its lack of adequate pedestrian infrastructure.
  • The Jerome Hayes Case

    Jerome Hayes had alibis. He passed a lie detector test. The prosecutor said she believed someone else committed the crimes. A detective questioned why Hayes was still in jail. Yet Hayes stayed in a Jacksonville jail cell for 589 days only to be released with all charges dropped. The Florida Times-Union examined what happened in the case and what errors police, prosecutors and defense lawyers made. And as the paper reported on the Hayes case, it uncovered longstanding and wide-reaching records violations by the police. http://static.jacksonville.com/files/jeromehayescase/
  • Pension Crisis

    Jacksonville’s Police and Fire Pension Fund is in crisis. The fund has about 43 cents available for every dollar promised to its retired police officers and fire fighters. Now $2.88 billion, the multiplying city debt is threatening the city’s financial stability. Bond ratings have been downgraded. City projects have been scuttled. Bankruptcy is feared. The recent recession isn’t the only thing that crippled the fund. Deals done in secret, deals hidden for more than a decade and sweetheart deals that allowed a select few to skirt regulations and retire from public service jobs with hundreds of thousands of extra dollars they weren’t entitled to are also to blame.
  • Juvenile Justice?

    A seven-month investigation by the Times-Union found that prosecutors in the Jacksonville area used the threat of adult charges to force low-risk juvenile defendants to accept plea deals that would send them to facilities meant for the most hardened juveniles – even in cases where the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice said those juveniles shouldn't have been locked up at all.
  • Leadership problems at Florida State College at Jacksonville

    Through public records requests, we forced the release of several documents Florida State College at Jacksonville sought to withhold: the wrongdoing investigation of a top executive who was also a VP at a college in New Jersey, and the five-figure bonuses given annually to most of the college's top brass. We also used Florida's public records laws to get expense reports and emails that showed little oversight on spending and infighting among board members divided over what action to take. Board members for the most part had little public discussion about their votes. Our reporting on the expenses, possible Sunshine violations and problems in the college's awarding of financial aid led to two state investigations into the college's foundation spending and overall finances.
  • Leadership problems at Florida State College at Jacksonville

    What started as a look at problems in the financial aid department led to a widespread review of college operational issues and spending that angered taxpayers and frustrated students. Through several months of reviewing records and rooting out sources, we found that the college had almost no controls on the president's spending and the board offered little oversight. We learned that this was common throughout the state after we reviewed all presidential contracts in Florida - and found lots of big-money perks. Our stories prompted two consulting reviews by the college and two statewide investigations, one from the inspector general into the president's spending and a second from the Florida College System into FSCJ's finances. The president and two other top-level leaders left the college, and reforms are expected from the Legislature this year.
  • Do you know when and where your City Council is meeting?

    "The report investigated how well Jacksonville City Council members followed Florida's Sunshine Law, which requires public officials to provide advance notice and access to meetings of two or more officials from the same board and commission. After the meeting, someone must record written minutes of the session." However in Jacksonville "dozen of meetings about public business [were] held without public notice or written minutes and several meetings that took place in private locations, which violated the city's ethics code and numerous Florida Attorney General opinions."
  • Twisted Life of Serial Killer, Seven Lost Lives

    This story looks at a serial killer in Jacksonville and how the law could not keep him off the streets. The killer repeatedly escaped the law and acquired acquittals for several crimes. As the reporter found out the courts granted him bail on another rape case and did not submit his DNA sample to a police database. He was arrested in June 2003 for the murder of seven women.
  • Slacker fire inspectors

    The Times-Union reports that Jacksonville fire inspectors have spent almost two-thirds of their time shopping, running errands and going home in the early afternoons. The findings are documented with photographs of inspectors goofing off in the middle of the day. The city fire prevention department has left some buildings and businesses not inspected for up to 10 years, making the excuse that there are not enough employees. Other findings include that the fire marshal's office did not try to correct hazards it knew about, that a downtown hotel burned three times because it did not comply with the minimum fire prevention standards, and that the department's records and work logs were false and grossly incomplete.
  • Arresting Developments

    The American Prospect looks at the use of police powers to enforce law on private property. The story reveals that police officers - often in uniform - are hired by private developments to enforce their private parking, speeding, trespassing, loitering, etc. rules. Cops cannot give a speeding ticket to someone who is violating a private speeding limit on a private speed, but they could consider arresting the violator for 'operating to endanger,' the magazine reveals. The reporter finds that "taken together, these moves represent a qualitative, though little noted, expansion of public law enforcement into the realm of private space." A major finding is that the approximately 25,000 private communities that already pay for their own private security patrols could argue successfully that they should not have to pay to support the public police system because they are policing themselves.