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 "public defender" ...

  • WUFT: Cost of Sunshine

    Public record requests of various county and local governments were made in an effort to determine the number of public record requests received by each governmental unit, the cost to provide access to the requested records, the fees recovered from requestors, and copies of agency public record access policies. Those governmental units not audited received a survey designed to obtain the same information sought in the public record requests. Public record requests included all county constitutional officers in nine Florida counties as well as the city clerk in the county seat. County constitutional officers include the state attorney; sheriff; clerk of court; tax collector; property appraiser; supervisor of elections; public defender; and school superintendent. Counties were chosen based on geographic and population diversity. Six state agencies were also included: Executive Office of Governor, Attorney General,Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Department of Financial Services, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
  • Influence & Injustice: An investigation into the power of prosecutors

    When it comes to racial bias in Florida's criminal justice system, there's plenty of blame to go around. Judges say prosecutors are the most responsible because they control the plea negotiation process where 95 percent of cases are resolved, But while prosecutors are the most powerful people in the system, that power varies based on where they practice and the relative influence of other actors – judges, public defenders, private attorneys, law enforcement officers and even juries.
  • Suspect City: Stop & Frisk in Miami Gardens

    Fusion’s investigative team spent six-months producing a fully digital, data-driven interactive story about a police department in Florida with a “stop and frisk” policy that may be unparalleled in the nation. One local public defender called it “stop and frisk on steroids.” Fusion analyzed more than 30,000 pages of police department data, showing how aggressive and far-reaching police actions were. Some residents were stopped, questioned and written up multiple times within minutes of each other, by different officers. Children were stopped by police in playgrounds. Senior citizens were stopped and questioned near their retirement home, including a 99-year-old man deemed to be "suspicious.” Officers even wrote a report identifying a five-year-old child as a "suspicious person.” Fusion also documented multiple instances of police officers falsifying reports, claiming to stop and question people who were actually already in county jail.
  • Scapegoat: The Chino Hills Murders and the Framing of Kevin Cooper

    Scapegoat is the true story of the horrific Chino Hills murders -- the highest profile crime in San Bernardino County history. It shows how law enforcement ignored eyewitness information implicating three white men as the perpetrators in order to pin the crime on Kevin Cooper, a recently escaped black prisoner from the nearby prison in Chino, California. It shows how his public defender lost the case before the trial even began and how the justice system has failed Cooper at almost every turn. It also shows the heroic work of an international law firm headquartered in San Francisco that adopted Cooper's case pro bono just three months before his scheduled execution in 2004 and won him a stay and how lawyers from this firm continue to appeal his wrongful conviction.
  • Not Enough Money or Time to Defend Detroit's Poor

    According to the 6th Amendment everyone is reserved the right to have adequate representation in court. Though, in Detroit, a national public defender crisis has broken out due to overworked and underpaid defenders. This is a problem throughout the national, but has reached crisis levels in Michigan. "More than 90 percent of criminal defenders in Wayne County cannot afford their own lawyers", so to make up for this public defenders are used for representation instead.
  • Defending the Damned

    "Defending the Damned takes a in inside look at a group of public defenders who normally operate in the shadows of the criminal justice system. The book examines the Murder Task Force of the Cook County Public Defender's Office, a unit that handles only homicide cases. The main narrative is a behind-the-scenes account of how one of those lawyers represents a man accused of killing a Chicago Police Officer in a highly controversial case."
  • Conflicted Justice

    The series found "major problems with a little-known but significant aspect of indigent defense in Nevada. When two or more indigent defendants are charge in the same case, each defendant's testimony might implicate another. To avoid conflicts of interest that would occur if co-defendants were represented by a county public defender, that office represents only one, and private lawyers are hired by judges to represent the rest. Alan Maimon's reporting revealed that some conflict attorneys claimed to work more than 24 hours in a single day. Some spent excessive time on certain cases that paid a higher hourly rate, and tended to hastily offer guilty pleas on cases that did not pay as well."
  • Unclogging Gideon's trumpet: Mississippi suits are the latest to attack state defense funding.

    The National Law Journal examines the state of criminal defense spending by states, most notably Mississippi. David E. Rovella writes "defense lawyers contend that budgets for already-overtaxed indigent defense systems are flat or have been cut. And in states without a public defense system, they argue, the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling in Gideon v. Wainwright, which guarantees state-funded indigent criminal defense, is ineffective." The National Law Journal writes about "three lawsuits filed in a recent weeks have challenged the way Mississippi provides criminal defense to the poor. They are the latest in a handful of suits nationwide attacking what defense lawyers say is the hidden price of war on crime: the erosion of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel."
  • Unequal loyalty

    ABA Journal invetigates how some federal public defenders try to serve two masters -- judges who appoint them and clients they represent. The article tells the story of New Mexico prosecutor Tova Indritz who "was punished for caring more about the interests of her clients than of the courts where she practiced."
  • Unequal Justice

    The Journal Sentinel tells the stories of poor defendants in Wisconsin who are denied their constitutional right to counsel, and often plead guilty and serve time despite being innocent. The main findings are that Milwaukee County sets inadequate poverty lines, in discrepancy with federal and state poverty lines, which leave many have-nots without appointed attorneys; judges are reluctant to appoint attorneys at county expense; when lawyers are appointed, defendants are billed by the state.