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 [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "Supreme Court" ...

  • The Fight for Legislative Records

    The group of stories submitted start with the anti-transparency actions that Washington state lawmakers took after an AP-led coalition prevailed in superior court in January 2018, when a judge ruled that state lawmakers are subject to the same public disclosure law that other elected officials are. The final story and glance are on the state Supreme Court in December 2019 upholding that lower court ruling. The state high court ruling is the end of a nearly three- year effort by Rachel La Corte at The Associated Press to successfully challenge lawmakers’ assertion that they had a special exemption from the state’s Public Records Act.
  • Burned: A Story of Murder and the Crime That Wasn't

    The book revisits the murder conviction of Jo Ann Parks, sentenced to life in prison without parole for allegedly murdering her three young children in 1989by setting fire to her home and trapping them inside. In re-investigating the case, the author found flawed forensic science, false and contradictory testimony, and strong evidence of cognitive bias throughout the case, including use of an unreliable informant who later recanted, and sworn expert testimony that the fire began because Parks supposedly constructed a crude “incendiary device” by deliberately overloading a sabotaged electrical extension cord. Testing later proved the cord did not and could not start a fire. Information in the book has since been added to Parks’ existing habeas corpus petition filed by the California Innocence Project, now being considered by the state Supreme Court. Additional findings suggests the problems with flawed forensic science and cognitive bias in general, and in arson investigation in particular, is widespread and has led to other wrongful convictions. Correcting the use of flawed forensic and expert testimony is hindered by the legal system’s reliance on precedent, which slows and sometimes prevents the correction of scientifically dubious ideas used to win convictions. Nascent attempts to study and change this tendency to prolong the use of flawed forensic science initiated by the Obama Administration have been shut down by the Trump Administration.
  • The Marshall Project and Los Angeles Times: The Great California Prison Experiment

    The Great California Prison Experiment examines the impacts on public safety of the state’s criminal justice reform measures that dramatically reduced the prison population.
  • Texas Observer: Access Denied

    The Texas Public Information Act is under attack. The law, which ensures the public’s access to government records, has taken a beating from state Supreme Court jurists, lawmakers and state agencies since it was passed in 1973. Once a shining example of government transparency, the law has been eroded by a growing list of loopholes for everything from ongoing police investigations and the dates of birth of government employees to information related to executions. Journalists are well aware of this problem, but it had never been presented to the public in a deep-dive feature until now. “Access Denied” reveals that government officials can delay, derail and deny requests by slow-walking them or charging exorbitant fees. This piece was reported over six months and included interviews with dozens of government officials, investigative journalists, citizen activists and researchers.
  • CBS: AmeriCorps Misconduct

    This CBS News Radio investigation probes allegations of widespread misconduct at the federally-funded AmeriCorps program. Part of the investigation details extensive sexual harassment allegations against the grandson of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, Stephen Black, an Alabama attorney and founder of AmeriCorps grant recipient Impact Alabama. The report triggered Impact America to severe ties with Black, and the University of Alabama to launch a Title IX investigation before firing him as an instructor. It relied heavily on public records from FOIA requests, along with interviews with current and former Impact Alabama and AmeriCorp volunteers, lawmakers, and federal oversight officials.
  • Washington Post: Appointees

    The Post vetted Trump’s appointees, from the most visible to the virtually unknown, in ways the White House had not. Some of the results were disqualifying.
  • Baseball player promoted to varsity after sexually abusing child

    After receiving a tip, WJHL asked a juvenile court judge in Virginia to release court records related to a sex abuse case. They knew they had a shot securing the records after conferring with an open records expert. After all, the records involved serious felonies. The judge released the records after discussing the issue with the Virginia Supreme Court. The records confirmed exactly what we suspected. In the end, the investigation uncovered a legal and school system failure that allowed two baseball players to remain on the team and at school after sexually abusing their 11-year-old neighbor during an off-campus campout. The investigation prompted the court clerk to apologize and the school to take action against the boys.
  • Cash & the Court

    A reporter's curiosity about campaign contributions to judicial candidates from six law firms — five from outside Arkansas — leads to a 17 month-long investigation and results in revelations that raise questions about the impartiality of the state's Supreme Court. http://www.arkansasonline.com/cashandthecourt/
  • Two linked scandals: An embattled attorney general and a besieged Supreme Court

    In a series of investigative articles, The Philadelphia Inquirer raised major questions about the performance of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane. At the same time, the paper probed a related scandal involving misconduct at the state Supreme Court, whose justices Kane accused of swapping offensive emails on state computers—messages laden with pornography and misogynistic, homophobic and racist jokes. Unlike most entries in this contest, the newspaper’s work on this investigation has played out over more than a year in a saga that has gathered more and more momentum.
  • Guardianship - The Grey Prison

    They're among the most vulnerable members of society. Often elderly, sometimes disabled, those conscripted into guardianship as "wards" are supposed to be protected and safeguarded. But in a first-of-its-kind, in-depth investigation, our team uncovered a system plagued by abuses. Families torn apart. Wards isolated. Estates raided. Judges rubber-stamping wrongdoing and turning a blind eye to the exploitation of private, for-profit guardians. We overcame tremendous resistance from court leaders who tried to dismiss all concerns and put us off this story before we even got started. As we waded through thousands of pages of court documents and other records, we uncovered a system so corrupt that the state was forced to initiate sweeping change. That change started at the Nevada Supreme Court and continues today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P31Zu-wUDWI https://youtu.be/_URbZLLgj6o