Stories

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

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Search results for "death penalty" ...

  • Death Penalty in America

    30 Years on Death Row: In an incredible miscarriage of justice, a prosecutor admits his cowardice and indifference led to the wrongful murder conviction of a man who spent 30 years on death row. The Execution of Joseph Wood: A murderer's execution with a new cocktail of drugs was supposed to take 10 minutes. It took almost two hours, the longest execution in U.S. history. [http://sendvid.com/y1xd84or] [http://sendvid.com/tl6jgyj2]
  • Exposing Missouri's Secret Execution Drug Source

    For the past several months, St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel and Véronique LaCapra have been investigating Missouri's execution process and the legal and ethical questions around how the state is obtaining its execution drug. Since most drug manufacturers don’t want their products used for lethal injection, Missouri has had to go to great lengths to find a supply. In October, our reporting uncovered that the state had turned to an unauthorized distributor. Then, at the direction of Missouri’s Governor, the Department of Corrections switched to a different execution drug. But they didn’t stop there – they also changed the rules to make it illegal to reveal the source of the drug. After at least a dozen open records requests and numerous interviews with pharmacy experts, our investigation has revealed that the state is obtaining its drug from an Oklahoma compounding pharmacy that isn’t licensed in Missouri. Under normal circumstances, that could be a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison. Our reporting has led lawyers representing Missouri’s death row inmates to file a complaint with the Missouri Board of Pharmacy, demanding they stop the state from illegal importation of its execution drug. And several state lawmakers have called for an appointed commission to investigate the Department of Corrections, and for executions to be put on hold while the General Assembly looks into the issue.
  • Grim Reapers

    Maricopa County, Arizona, has faced economic hurdles in paying for representation of indigent defendants charged with capital crimes. In recent years, the county supplanted other jurisdictions as the unofficial “death penalty capital” of the United States. “Grim Reaper” describes how a prominent capital criminal-defense attorney committed serious ethical and potentially criminal violations over a period of five years, during which time he collected more than $2.4 million from the county, including payment for work that he never had performed. in the wake of publication, law enforcement initiated a still-ongoing criminal investigation (as did the State Bar of Arizona), and the county's presiding judge announced sweeping and immediate changes in how criminal-defense attorneys representing indigent clients would be vetted, selected and paid.
  • Finger prints

    For almost a century, fingerprint evidence has been a revered cornerstone of the American criminal justice system. But that may soon change. Last fall, in a Baltimore murder case, a judge ruled that fingerprint analysis is not reliable, which shocked lawyers across the country and could possibly put thousands of criminal investigations in jeopardy. CBS News spent months researching the use of fingerprints in murder trials as well as assessing the future of fingerprint evidence.
  • Unequal Justice

    An investigation into Texas's justice system revealed that at least 120 killers were put on probation instead of required to spend time in prison. Texas employs a legal system which "scholars nationwide diagnosed as broken," in which juries made sentencing decisions based "as much on likes and dislikes as on facts." Also, judges repeatedly gave freed killers a second chance on probation violations because "they viewed probation as a chance for reform, not punishment."
  • Who Killed Her Daughter?

    "The package of stories focused on the unsolved slaying of four young women within central Virginia that occurred within a seven-month span in 1996."
  • Race to Execution

    "Race to Execution reveals how, beyond DNA and the issue of innocence, the shameful open secret of America's capital punishment system is a matter of race." The race of the victim's and the accused "influence the legal process" from crime scene investigation, media portrayal, to jury selection and sentencing.
  • A Matter of Life or Death

    Examining "how crimes eligible for the death penalty were prosecuted in Georgia over a 10-year period," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that sentence varied by circuit court.
  • Life and Death

    This analysis of Ohio's capital punishment system looked at 1900 crimes that were potentially capital crimes. It found that offenders who killed whites were twice as likely to be sentenced to death as those who killed blacks; that more than half of capital cases ended with plea bargains; and that the possibility of a death sentence varied depending on where the crime was committed. It also discovered numerous errors in the state's collection of death penalty data.
  • Uncomfortably Numb

    Lethal injection procedures have been largely unchanged - and unexamined - since the method was pioneered in the mid-1970s. It is possible that a condemned inmate might awaken during the lethal injection procedure, but because of the injection's paralytic agent, no observer would notice. The combination of two of the drugs used by executioners in Missouri and many other states has been condemned by the American Medical Veterinary Association for use in animal euthanasia.