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 "court system" ...

  • Sign Here to Lose Everything

    How predatory lenders have turned New York's court system into a high-speed debt-collection machine that is destroying small businesses nationwide.
  • Arizona Daily Star: Evictions

    Reporter Emily Bregel spent seven months investigating the problem of evictions and lack of affordable housing in Pima County, Arizona. The series ran in print over three days and highlighted the chaotic fall-out following an eviction, the reasons why experts said evictions were about to surge in Pima County and the City of Tucson, as well as the failures in the justice court system that deals with eviction cases. The online story also featured an introductory video created by Emily Bregel and video editor Nick Murray, an interactive map of evictions, audio clips from relevant eviction hears and multiple graphics.
  • Who Guards the Guardians

    This series was developed to give the public an insider's view into a taxpayer funded court system that can do irreparable harm after it is asked to help. It is the section of the court that deals with families bickering over what do to with an aging, ailing Mom or Dad. Judges in these courts have extraordinary powers to strip the elderly of their civil rights, push family members aside and appoint strangers to act as personal and financial guardians for the newly proclaimed “ward of the court.” In the process the guardians can – and do – ignore carefully prepared estate plans and wills, bypassing the expressed wishes of the elder. It is a growing nationwide problem which will only become more pervasive as the U.S. population continues to grow older. This series focuses on the especially secretive system in place in New Mexico.
  • Use of Force: How the courts respond to police violence doesn’t always lead to justice

    This story examines how law enforcement officers justify using deadly force through the lens of three questionable Houston-area police shootings and one Texas law enforcement official who routinely defends officers in court as an expert witness.
  • Betrayal of Trust

    This investigation showed how a secretive court system and lack of oversight allowed a highly respected elder care lawyer to steal million from the senior citizens she was appointed to care for.
  • One Year Later: CNNMoney Investigates Ferguson

    After a scathing report from the Department of Justice finding rampant policing for profit in Ferguson, the city touted changes to the police department and court system, while lawmakers heralded a new state law aimed at limiting the use of court fines as revenue generators. But we didn’t want to take the city’s word for it, and in an exclusive analysis eventually discovered that even after the DOJ report, the city continued to issue thousands of warrants over the same kinds of minor offenses the DOJ had highlighted. We also found that the problem goes far beyond Ferguson. Policing for profit has raged on in Ferguson’s neighboring towns -- keeping many of the area’s low-income residents stuck in a cycle of court debt and jail stints. Like a pastor who was jailed countless times for minor traffic tickets, a 27-year-old who has spent more than a decade trying to pay off tickets she got as a teenager, or a young mom who was arrested over not having a residency sticker on her car.
  • The Kindness of Strangers: Inside Elder Guardianship in Florida

    With an estimated 50 percent of Americans 85 and older experiencing cognitive impairment, the longevity boom has generated an increase in the number of elders who are deemed too frail or mentally compromised to handle their affairs. Most states, including Florida, have cobbled together an efficient way to identify and care for helpless elders, using the probate court system to place them under guardianship. But critics say this system – easily set in motion, notoriously difficult to stop – often ignores basic civil rights. They describe a ruthless determination to take elders from their homes and make them conform to a process by which their belongings can be sold, and their family and friends shut out—until eventually they are locked away in institutions to decline and die. The critics call this process “liquidate, isolate, medicate.” Through case studies, examining court documents and talking to those working for elder justice reform, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune found consistent patterns of a lack of due process, an unwillingness to inform and involve family members, a one-size-fits-all approach to elders with diverse levels of capacity, substandard care for wards who lack assets, and high legal and professional fees for wards who have considerable assets. Fundamentally, the system treats elders as second-class citizens, before stripping them of citizenship altogether and rendering them as non-persons.
  • Sex offenses on campus

    This story uncovered the causes for an incredibly low rate of reporting and prosecution for sex offenses at the University of Missouri. As many people know, universities have especially high rates of sexual victimization, such as rape, and especially low rates of prosecution for those crimes. My investigation, which took more than a year because of resistance from campus officials, revealed that only two sex offenses were ever reported to the student disciplinary office in 2012. Sexual violence survey data suggests the actual number of violations was more likely in the thousands, and nearly 100 violations were reported to campus police or the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center. Throughout my reporting I discovered legal barriers, indifference among law enforcement, lack of communication and social phenomena that all contribute to this incredibly low rate. The article showed that prosecution for sex offenses at the University of Missouri is extremely rare, perhaps even more rare than prosecution in the state court system.
  • Cop Sells Gun to Mentally Ill Man

    Reporter Martha Bellisle’s series of stories on the sale of a gun by a Reno police sergeant to a 19-year-old mentally ill man, who it turned out was prohibited by law from having a gun, revealed questionable behavior by a law enforcement officer and sparked nationwide debates about the lack of background checks on private party gun sales. Her investigation also exposed flaws in the court system. After first reporting on the gun sale, Bellisle discovered that the Washoe District Court had failed to send the young man’s name to a database of people who are not allowed to have a gun. That investigation prompted the chief justice of the Nevada Supreme Court to order a statewide review of all Nevada courts to see if they were properly reporting people adjudicated with a mental illness to the National Instant Background Check System, or NICS. The audit revealed that almost 2,000 people had been missed by courts across the state and had not been included in that database. Some of those people had histories of violence. The courts fixed the process and the debate on background checks for all gun sales continues.
  • Sex offenses on campus

    This story uncovered the causes for an incredibly low rate of reporting and prosecution for sex offenses at the University of Missouri. As many people know, universities have especially high rates of sexual victimization, such as rape, and especially low rates of prosecution for those crimes. My investigation, which took more than a year because of resistance from campus officials, revealed that only two sex offenses were ever reported to the student disciplinary office in 2012. Sexual violence survey data suggests the actual number of violations was more likely in the thousands, and nearly 100 violations were reported to campus police or the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center. Throughout my reporting I discovered legal barriers, indifference among law enforcement, lack of communication and social phenomena that all contribute to this incredibly low rate. The article showed that prosecution for sex offenses at the University of Missouri is extremely rare, perhaps even more rare than prosecution in the state court system.