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 defenders" ...

  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Unequal Justice

    A study by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reveals that poor defendants who cannot afford an attorney are more likely to be behind bars than defendants who can afford an attorney.
  • Friends of the Court

    A Miami Herald investigation of the Broward County legal system revealed that county judges only hire a select group of private lawyers to represent poor people who can't afford their own attorneys. "Unlike other South Florida courts that evenly spread the work to a large pool of qualified lawyers, Broward judges maintain absolute discretion over who gets appointed when the public defender's office can't represent a defendant because of a conflict." The Herald discovered that judges often select their friends or election contributors to be public defenders.
  • Atlantic City prosecutors, defenders doing private work on city time

    "An investigation by the The Press found that full-time prosecutors and public defenders in Atlantic City were doing private legal work on city time.They appeared in courtrooms outside of (Atlantic City) during the day, and some had private phone and fax lines to accommodate their private practices in their city offices."
  • The Truth Could Set Them Free

    The Hartford Advocate investigated the mistakes made at every level, from shoddy policework to judicial errors, that can lead to miscarriages of justice. They reveal the plight of innocent people who have been wrongly convicted.
  • Poor Justice? The Susan Cummings Story

    "Susan Cummings was 16 years old when her elderly neighbor was raped, robbed and murdered. Two years later, she was arrested and charged with masterminding the crime. There was no physical evidence against her but the mere fact that she was friends with the victim, and her parents and siblings were in and out of trouble convinced the police Susan was guilty. ... Throughout this process Susan was offered deals. If she would accuse others -- her charges would be reduced. She refused - claiming she was innocent. Two other teens testified against Susan. Both cut deals - immunity for one and a lighter charge for the other. Based on their testimony alone Susan was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole...."