Stories

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

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Search results for "executions" ...

  • 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.
  • Missouri Swore It Wouldn’t Use A Controversial Execution Drug. It Did.

    Missouri said it carried out executions using just one drug: Pentobarbital. While other states carried out botched executions in Oklahoma, Ohio and Arizona, Missouri officials pointed out that Missouri didn't use the drug, midazolam, that those states did. Two Corrections officials even said under oath that Missouri would not use midazolam in an execution. Our investigation found out Missouri had used the controversial drug in every execution over the past year. Just as alarming, the state was injecting the drug into the inmates before members of the press were there to witness it.
  • Death by Deadline

    In Death by Deadline, The Marshall Project’s Ken Armstrong reveals how a provision of a 1996 law intended to produce speedier executions has resulted in scores of condemned felons losing their chance for a federal appeal. Armstrong uncovered 80 cases where defense lawyers blew a filing deadline -- in most cases, costing their clients a chance to challenge the verdict or the sentence. The series brought a little-known issue to public attention and may lead to policy recommendations from the American Bar Association and outgoing U.S. attorney general, Eric Holder Jr.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Texas Clemency Memos

    This story reveals how George Bush violated his statement that he "carefully" reviewed all claims for clemency as the Governor of Texas. During his tenure a record number of 152 executions took place. Bush relied on summaries that ran for just a few pages before rejecting some of pleas. This in-depth piece looks at how the summaries could have misinformed Bush about the pending executions.
  • The Birth of a Movement: The New Face of Protest

    A collection of articles by The Village Voice examining if there is a new activist movement and if so, who are the activists and what do they hope to accomplish. The three-month project was done in the wake of mass demonstrations against the World Trade Organization in Seattle, against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., and against police brutality in New York City. "The staff found that the movement is composed of large numbers of citizens, with different agendas, but united in their rage over economic injustice."
  • Who Gets Death

    In a five-part series the Tennessean investigates the fairness of Tennessee's death penalty. The main finding is that the justices are using a flawed computer database of first-degree murder cases to determine the fairness of death sentences. The series reports on the disciplinary records of lawyers who have handled capital cases, and reveals that one in four blacks sentenced to death in the state is sent to the death row by all-white juries.
  • Dead Men Waiting

    The Tulsa World "looked at why the pace of executions had remained unabated in Oklahoma, despite growing concerns elsewhere that the capital punishment system was inherently flawed . . . Described the emotional impact of executions, discussed the types of cases that lead to capital convictions and illustrated the uneven application of justice in the same crime." Reporters also investigated inmate competency, prosecutor misconduct, reviewed cases of those executed in the past decade and researched the role of DNA in such cases. "We also took readers into the penitentiary and outside on the grounds during an execution. Sidebars looked at the appeals process, key decisions in modern death penalty cases and victims' families."
  • State of Execution: The Death Penalty in Texas; Executions in America

    These two articles by the Chicago Tribune "investigated the death penalty, continuing the work of the Tribune performed in 1999, when it published a series on the failure of the death penalty in Illinois. The first series examined every execution under Gov. George W. Bush. ... The second series examined every execution in the U.S. since 1976."