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 "convictions" ...

  • 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.
  • Trading Away Justice

    Guilty pleas have become the go-to solution for the nation’s overburdened courts. They account for nine of every 10 convictions in the United States. But our near-total reliance on plea bargaining has created a parallel justice system -- one without the constitutional safeguards of trials, that operates largely in secret and with little oversight. Through case studies and data analysis, “Trading Away Justice” documents how even innocent defendants are being pressured into pleading guilty.
  • The Baton Rouge Advocate: "Tilting the Scales"

    A Jim Crow law, still on the books in Louisiana, allows for criminal convictions with only 10 of 12 jurors agreeing -- a practice that our analysis shows continues to discriminate against black defendants.
  • SB Tribune/ProPublica: Criminal Justice in Elkhart, Indiana

    Reports by the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica revealed deep flaws and abuses of power in the criminal justice system in Elkhart, Indiana -- from new revelations in the wrongful convictions of two innocent men, to the promotions of police supervisors with serious disciplinary records, to the mishandling of police misconduct cases -- and led to the resignation of the police chief, an independent investigation of the department and criminal charges against two officers.
  • Baltimore Sun: The Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force Scandal

    The Baltimore Sun’s coverage of arguably the biggest corruption scandal in the history of the Baltimore Police Department continued into 2018, with the trials of the remaining officers charged in the federal case and the fallout from the case. The Sun produced work that revealed the suburban drug case that led authorities to the rogue squad, how the convictions thrust into question thousands of open and adjudicated cases involving the officers and what the trials revealed about the deep reach of the city’s drug economy.
  • ADG: Milking Medicaid

    A Missouri-based nonprofit became Arkansas' largest provider of Medicaid-funded mental health services by milking a flawed system that has drawn the attention of federal prosecutors — and resulted in the convictions of several former lawmakers for public bribery and conspiracy.
  • Murderville, Georgia

    When a brutal murder rocks a small Southern town, residents and police are shocked. Could the new guy in town be the one who who did it? Yes, the cops say, he is. Case solved. But then another murder happens. And another. In the end: four bodies, two convictions, and one man in jail for a crime he likely did not commit.
  • A Marine’s Convictions

    A Marine fights to prove he’s innocent of sexual misconduct. Then a lost cellphone is found.
  • Wrongful convictions and other miscarriages of justice

    The Medill Justice Project examines miscarriages of justice and potentially wrongful convictions, highlights problems in the criminal justice system, such as the reliability of eyewitness identification, and raises questions about the validity of the diagnoses of shaken-baby syndrome and medical child abuse in its investigations across the country. http://www.medilljusticeproject.org/
  • The death of Freddie Gray

    The April death of a West Baltimore man in police custody quickly spiraled into a controversy that left some city neighborhoods in flames, and brought attention from national and international media. Within days, the name Freddie Gray became associated with the broader debate over the way police across the nation treated African-Americans. Central to that debate was a singular question: How did Gray die? The Baltimore Sun set out to provide an answer by investigating allegations of police brutality and dissecting the crucial minutes after Gray was arrested. Reporters revealed that Gray was not the first person to be seriously injured in a police transport van, and that officers routinely ignored calls by detainees for medical care. http://data.baltimoresun.com/news/police-convictions/ http://data.baltimoresun.com/news/intake-logs/rejections/ http://data.baltimoresun.com/freddie-gray/