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.

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  • An Innocent Man?

    Newsday’s multi-media investigation “An Innocent Man?” was the first to reveal widespread wrongdoing by Suffolk law-enforcement authorities in the 1975 Keith Bush murder conviction, one of the longest-running “innocent man” cases in U.S. history. In a year-long investigation, Newsday reporter Thomas Maier detailed: how police allegedly beat a false confession out of then-17-year-old Bush for the 1975 sex-related murder of schoolmate Sherese Watson; how forensic experts offered flawed evidence about Bush’s guilt and later lost the alleged murder weapon; how the prosecution’s main witness against Bush later recanted and said she made up all of her testimony; how DNA evidence pointing to Bush’s innocence was rejected; and, mostly significantly, how Bush’s trial prosecutor covered-up evidence of another potential suspect, John W. Jones Jr., who placed himself at the murder scene. That evidence about Jones remained a secret and Bush was convicted and sent to prison for 33 years. Newsday’s investigation began in June 2018 and the resulting 15,000-word print report and an accompanying documentary were published together in May 2019. Shortly afterward, a report by the current Suffolk County district attorney concluded that Bush had been wrongly convicted and a judge vacated his sentence – 44 years later. Several follow-ups by Newsday detailed reaction to the Bush case and were reflected in an updated documentary, written by Maier and edited by Newsday owner Patrick Dolan, which was posted on December 31, 2019. Maier’s painstaking work – which involved dozens of interviews and thousands of pages of legal documents – shed light on a tragic incident in the past and helped result in other similar cases receiving a thorough investigation.
  • 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 Oregonian: False Comfort

    Thousands of desperate families have turned to an industry that charges premium prices on the promise of safety and comfort for loved ones with dementia. Yet in Oregon, memory care facilities have twice the rate of abuse as other forms of assisted living, The Oregonian/OregonLive's exhaustive analysis of state data found.
  • KCUR Investigates: Ryan Stokes Was Killed By A Kansas City Cop. His Family Wants Police To Tell The Truth

    Ryan Stokes' name isn't mentioned in the same breath as Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown, but it should be. Stokes, a 24-year-old black man in Kansas City, was killed by a police officer after he was wrongfully accused of stealing a white man's cell phone. A KCUR investigation revealed that every detail the Kansas City Police Department told his family was false. His family is left to wonder why his black life didn't matter.
  • FOX 5 Atlanta $2 Tests: Bad Arrests

    "Test kits don't lie." That's what we heard on dash cam video as another cop led another innocent Georgian to jail based on the false positive results of a drug field test. In fact, some test kits do lie, and sometimes with terrible consequences. Our investigation provided a first-time look at the big picture and continues to change the way law enforcement trusts these tests.
  • CBS THIS MORNING: The Prison Release of David Robinson

    DAVID ROBINSON WALKED OUT OF A MISSOURI PRISON IN MAY, 2018 INTO THE WAITING ARMS OF HIS MOTHER AFTER SPENDING NEARLY TWO DECADES BEHIND BARS FOR A CRIME HE DID NOT COMMIT. WHILE THE OCCASION WAS CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION, OUR COVERAGE WAS DESIGNED TO INFORM AUDIENCES OF THE HIGHLY UNUSUAL PATH ROBINSON’S LAWYERS TOOK TO PROVE HIS INNOCENCE. OUR COVERAGE WAS ALSO CREDITED WITH THE NEEDED ADDED IMPETUS TO LEAD TO A TIMELY RELEASE.
  • Inside the Shady Industry that Profits off Mugshot Photos

    “Mugged,” which premiered on Fusion on March 6, 2016 as part of the network’s monthly investigative “The Naked Truth” series, explores the multi-million dollar extortion industry of mugshot websites, which is wreaking havoc on the lives and reputations of tens of millions of Americans, especially minorities. In a completely legal process, operators of these websites collect public arrest records and photographs from online police databases and post the records on their own websites, often making the content more prominent via search engine optimization. These mugshot websites then charge the arrested individuals hundreds of dollars to remove their records and photos, despite the fact that many of these individuals have been falsely arrested, found innocent, or have yet to stand trial.
  • WDSU Investigates: Parking Ticket Turmoil

    "WDSU Investigates: Parking Ticket Turmoil" is an in-depth six-month investigation into erroneously issued parking tickets by the city of New Orleans. WDSU’s investigation spurred a probe by the city’s Inspector General. In the months following, it was discovered that nearly 7,000 parking citations were improperly issued, potentially costing drivers hundreds of thousands of dollars in false payments.
  • Toxic Safety

    A child’s car seat is the only consumer product that is required by law in all 50 states and it is crucial to keep a child safe in the car. However, this investigation revealed false advertising, legal loopholes and outdated federal regulations are exposing millions of children to concerning, even known-cancer-causing chemicals, in their car seats with no apparent safety benefit. Over the course of a year, KPIX lit car seats on fire, commissioned lab tests on car seats and the kids who use them, searched public records, mined social media, analyzed national car fire data and interviewed experts from every applicable industry. The resulting series sparked action by lawmakers, industry groups, consumer advocates, federal regulators and car seat