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 "liability" ...

  • Wrongful convictions and other miscarriages of justice

    The Medill Justice Project examines miscarriages of justice and potentially wrongful convictions, highlights problems in the criminal justice system, such as the reliability of eyewitness identification, and raises questions about the validity of the diagnoses of shaken-baby syndrome and medical child abuse in its investigations across the country. http://www.medilljusticeproject.org/
  • Wrongful Convictions

    The Medill Justice Project examines wrongful convictions, and in their investigations in 2014 they unearthed revelatory information that raised questions about the reliability of eyewitness identification, the truth in confessions and the validity of expert medical testimonies in murder cases across the country.
  • The State Where Giving Birth Can Be Criminal

    The piece looked at the effects of a new law in Tennessee that made it a criminal assault to give birth to a baby with drugs in its system. After a six-month investigation involving interviews with pregnant women, doctors, and health workers, we were able to document a consistent pattern of women being driven underground to avoid the fate they’ve seen in mug shots on the local news. Among many narratives: We learned of and/or spoke to women avoiding prenatal care and drug treatment in order to protect themselves from the punitive effects of the law; We learned of and/or spoke to women switching hospitals, avoiding hospital births, and even leaving the state to circumvent the law; We heard about pregnant women seeking drug treatment and being turned away for liability reasons.
  • 40 Million Mistakes

    60 MINUTES SET-OUT TO INVESTIGATE THE CONSUMER CREDIT REPORTING INDUSTRY, A FOUR-BILLION-DOLLAR-A-YEAR INDUSTRY WHICH KEEPS FILES ON 200 MILLION AMERICANS AND TRAFFICS IN OUR FINANCIAL REPUTATIONS. THE CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES COLLECT DATA ABOUT CONSUMERS FROM CREDIT CARD COMPANIES, BANKS, CAR DEALERSHIPS, COLLECTION AGENCIES, AND COURT RECORDS; THEY COLLATE THE DATA AND CREATE CREDIT REPORTS WHICH THEY SELL TO BUSINESSES THAT USE THE REPORTS TO JUDGE OUR CREDITWORTHINESS AND RELIABILITY. AN ERROR ON A CREDIT REPORT CAN COST CONSUMERS A LOT OF MONEY AND A LOT OF HARDSHIP; AN ERROR CAN INCREASE THE INTEREST RATE ON LOANS, PREVENT SOMEONE FROM GETTING A MORTGAGE OR BUYING A CAR, LANDING A JOB OR GAINING SECURITY CLEARANCE.
  • Explosion at West

    Tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer at a central Texas plant exploded last April with the force of a small earthquake. The blast came just two days after the Boston Marathon and, in the national media, was overshadowed by events in the Northeast. While not the result of a terrorist attack, the explosion in West, Texas, was far larger and deadlier, and raised more significant public safety issues. In a series of investigative reports over eight months, The Dallas Morning News revealed that ammonium nitrate remains virtually unregulated by federal and state governments, despite its well-known explosive potential. (Timothy McVeigh used it in 1995 to blow up an Oklahoma City federal building.) Efforts to strengthen oversight have been blocked by industry lobbyists and government gridlock, The News found, even as the Pentagon sought bans on ammonium nitrate in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In pro-business, anti-regulation Texas, the federal government’s lax oversight meant no oversight at all. West Fertilizer Co. – scene of the disaster – violated almost every safety best practice. No state agency was charged with preventing an ammonium nitrate blast. There was no public registry of companies that handled the compound, even though many facilities are near homes and schools. Texas prohibits most counties from having fire codes and does not require facilities like West to obtain liability insurance. Gov. Rick Perry and other state politicians, who created this wide-open environment, washed their hands of the problem. They said West was a tragic accident that no amount of regulation could have prevented. The News’ findings, however, proved otherwise.
  • Shakedown

    For years, megacorporations such as Valero, ExxonMobil, and Hines Interest have successfully gamed the Harris County Appraisal District and decreased its certified value by millions, resulting in a total reduction of more than $2.4 billion in tax base on which tax liability is calculated. The Houston Independent School District and the City of Houston have paid the price, losing out on $15.4 million and $9.4 million in tax revenues respectively. Meanwhile, HCAD, which is in charge of valuing more than 1.4 million parcels in the greater Houston area, routinely fights property owners whose parcels are worth a modest $80,000 to $150,000 for every assessment penny. A majority of these property owners have no idea that it's happening and don't have the means to challenge HCAD.
  • 40 Million Mistakes

    60 Minutes set-out to investigate the consumer credit reporting industry, a four-billion-dollar-a-year industry which keeps files in our financial reputations. The credit reporting agencies collect data about consumers from credit card companies, banks, car dealerships, collection agencies and court records; they collate the data and create credit reports which they sell to businesses that use the reports to judge our creditworthiness and reliability. An error on a credit report can cost consumers a lot of money and a lot of hardship; an error can increase the interest rate on loans; prevent someone from getting a mortgage or buying a car, landing a job or gaining security clearance.
  • The Real CSI

    Evidence collected at crime scenes—everything from fingerprints to bite marks—is routinely called upon in the courtroom to prosecute the most difficult crimes and put the guilty behind bars. And though glamorized on commercial television, in the real world, it’s not so cut-and-dried. A joint investigation by FRONTLINE, ProPublica and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley examines the reliability of the science behind forensics in The Real CSI. From the sensational murder trial of Casey Anthony to the credentialing of forensic experts, “The Real CSI” documents how a field with few uniform standards and unproven science can undermine the search for justice. The investigation follows a landmark study by the National Academy of Sciences that called into question the tenets of forensic science. For the first time, Harry T. Edwards, a senior federal appellate court judge and co-chairman of the report, sits for an interview to discuss what the report means. And, FRONTLINE examines one of the most high-profile terrorist investigations since 9/11: the case of Brandon Mayfield, an attorney who was wrongfully identified and arrested as a suspect in the Madrid commuter train bombings after the FBI erroneously matched his fingerprint to a partial print found at the scene. In “The Real CSI,” FRONTLINE correspondent Lowell Bergman finds serious flaws in some of the best known tools of forensic science, wide inconsistencies in how forensic evidence is presented in the courtroom and no system in place for establishing the credibility of so-called “forensic experts” whose testimony can lead to a conviction.
  • Investigating The Fire

    After three people were killed in a fire set by the Colorado State Forest Service, KMGH-TV uncovered governmental mistakes and communication failures that killed people and destroyed homes. Our coverage spurred legislative change that will ultimately help the victims of the Lower North Fork Fire (LNFF) rebuild their lives and protect future fire victims. The LNFF was started in March 2012 by a state forest service prescribed burn that went out of control, killing three people and destroying more than 20 homes. KMGH-TV's six-week investigation uncovered multiple government failures that turned a supposedly controlled burn into an uncontrolled wildfire. Despite heading into a busy ratings period, KMGH-TV dedicated two reporters -- Amanda Kost and Marshall Zelinger -- full-time to investigate the fire. The station produced more than two dozen investigative reports over 40 days. On top of the daily reports, KMGH-TV produced a 30-minute special of original content in six days. Our investigations sparked a legislative inquiry into the fire and prompted Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper to sign a law lifting liability limits that protected the state agency responsible for the blaze. Lawmakers, fire victims and community residents all agreed that without KMGH-TV's extensive investigation of government failures and mistakes, the families of people who died and people who lost homes would never be adequately compensated for their losses. Our investigation forced the state to reevaluate how it sets future prescribed burns to make sure the fires are safer for the community.
  • Investigating the Fire

    After three people were killed in a fire set by the Colorado State Forest Service, KMGH-TV uncovered governmental mistakes and communication failures that killed people and destroyed homes. Our coverage spurred legislative change that will ultimately help the victims of the Lower North Fork Fire (LNFF) rebuild their lives and protect future fire victims. The LNFF was started in March 2012 by a state forest service prescribed burn that went out of control, killing three people and destroying more than 20 homes. KMGH-TV's six-week investigation uncovered multiple government failures that turned a supposedly controlled burn into an uncontrolled wildfire. Despite heading into a busy ratings period, KMGH-TV dedicated two reporters -- Amanda Kost and Marshall Zelinger -- full-time to investigate the fire. The station produced more than two dozen investigative reports over 40 days. On top of the daily reports, KMGH-TV produced a 30-minute special of original content in six days. Our investigations sparked a legislative inquiry into the fire and prompted Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper to sign a law lifting liability limits that protected the state agency responsible for the blaze. Lawmakers, fire victims and community residents all agreed that without KMGH-TV's extensive investigation of government failures and mistakes, the families of people who died and people who lost homes would never be adequately compensated for their losses. Our investigation forced the state to reevaluate how it sets future prescribed burns to make sure the fires are safer for the community.