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 "defendant" ...

  • 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.
  • WEWS-TV: Evading Justice

    The Ohio sex offender registry is supposed to help keep the public safe by providing access to information about convicts who have committed serious sexual offenses. But our extensive six-month-long investigation uncovered a loophole used by prosecutors and judges in one of the largest counties in the state that results in many accused rapists evading the registry. We found oftentimes the justice system allows suspects charged with rape to plead down to lesser and even completely unrelated charges – in a three-year period, there were more than 100 accused rapists who pleaded guilty to abduction, assault and endangering children, which allowed them to avoid registering as sex offenders. We also found many of those same defendants went on to be charged with another sexual offense after they evaded the registry, showing how this practice can put the public at risk.
  • 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.
  • L.A. Times: How California Law Shielded Dishonest Cops

    For decades, California’s strict police privacy laws made it nearly impossible for anyone to find out basic information about police officer misconduct. A team of Los Angeles Times reporters spent months investigating the impact of this secrecy on the criminal justice system. They found that officers caught for dishonesty and other serious wrongdoing were able to continue testifying in court without prosecutors, defendants, judges and jurors ever finding out about their past. Countless defendants were convicted based on the testimony of these officers. Published at the height of a political debate over making police records public, the stories helped galvanize support to change state law and open up some records about officer misconduct, which had been kept confidential for 40 years.
  • They Shared Drugs. Someone Died. Does That Make Them Killers?

    This was a year-long investigation of the prosecution of accidental drug overdoses as homicides. It is the first and only story to attempt to quantify the national scale of this emerging trend using court data. It also involved a review of 82 individual cases in Pennsylvania to examine where defendants fit on the user-dealer continuum and whether they were drug users themselves.
  • Perversion of Justice: How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime

    Miami Herald investigative reporter Julie K. Brown and visual journalist Emily Michot documented how a politically connected mulitmillionaire manipulated the criminal justice system to avoid significant punishment for his obsessive pursuit of sexual encounters with underage girls. Through behind-the-scenes emails, the journalists also demonstrated the remarkably cozy relationship between defendant Jeffrey Epstein's powerhouse legal team and state and federal prosecutors, including U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, who is now President Trump's labor secretary. And, in a first, they tracked down and interviewed several of Epstein's victims.
  • Teen to Terrorist

    KSTP's exclusive interview with a convicted terrorist who was a former ISIS recruit and one of the most high profile terrorist defendants in the federal government's most significant and largest terror recruiting case in the country gave them unprecedented insight into how and why ISIS is successfully recruiting young Somali-American men.
  • Bias on the bench

    Florida legislators have struggled for 30 years to create an equitable justice system. But a Herald-Tribune investigation, involving an unprecedented analysis of tens of millions of electronic records, shows that black defendants are punished more severely than white defendants who commit the same crimes and have similar criminal backgrounds. Judges in Florida offer blacks fewer changes to avoid jail or scrub away felonies. They give blacks more time behind bars – sometimes double the sentences of whites. No news organization, university or government agency has ever done such a comprehensive investigation of sentences handed down by individual judges on a statewide scale. http://projects.heraldtribune.com/bias/
  • Locked Up For Being Poor In South Carolina Jails

    An analysis of bond data from multiple sources shows poor defendants who struggle to pay a cash bond spend more time in jail before trail and are more likely to be convicted of a crime or plead guilty than those who have the means to post bond. http://wspa.com/2016/05/05/locked-up-for-being-poor-in-south-carolina-jails/
  • Locked In Limbo

    An Argus Leader Media investigation found that South Dakota routinely jails mentally ill defendants for half a year or more without trial because of scheduling delays for court-ordered mental competency evaluations.