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 "trial" ...

  • Prosecution Tactics Under Scrutiny: "Let's Make A Deal."

    It’s more the rule than the exception: Criminal cases – be they relatively minor or serious felony matters – most often come to a close before any trial takes place. The bargaining process offers benefits to prosecutors and defendants alike, and often satisfies society’s calls for justice. In Louisiana, records show the overall “plea” rate is in line with national figures. About 90 percent of all criminal cases are resolved through a plea agreement. But in one suburban New Orleans parish, the WDSU I-Team found some remarkable discrepancies. Among them: More than 99.9 percent of all matters were settled outside of the courtroom. That staggering figure is juxtaposed against rising concerns related to crime in the community. And as the I-Team investigated further, reporter Travers Mackel discovered something else – something that caught the attention of the largest government watchdog group in the state, the parish president and the voters and taxpayers who ultimately support the office of the prosecutor.
  • Pay For The Triggerman: NBC 5 Investigates the Army’s Treatment of the Fort Hood Shooter and His Victims.

    Just hours after we aired the first story in this series it was flashed across the globe by news sites from the Huffington Post, to the Washington Times, and the London Daily Mail. In a matter of days several Congressmen worked to address what NBC 5 Investigates first reported: Major Nidal Hasan the man who shot and killed 13 U.S. soldiers and wounded another 32 at Fort Hood was still on the Army payroll and had received nearly $300,000 from U.S. taxpayers since his arrest. That did not sit well with victims of the attack still struggling to recover financially and emotionally. The Army had denied the victims pay and benefits awarded to other soldiers wounded at U.S. military bases overseas and in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. Over the next seven months our coverage continued in-depth over a series of eleven reports uncovering never-before-reported details about the Army’s treatment of the gunman and the victims. V.I.P. style helicopter rides for Hasan to help him work on his defense, his own private office created at Fort Hood, and millions spent on trial preparations during a process that dragged on for nearly four years.
  • Watching Tony Die

    Wendy Halloran's journalistic skills have been focused in uncovering the secrets that often lurk behind the closed doors of our state institutions. Wendy began reporting about conditions in the Arizona Department of Corrections and became the vehicle through which the public would learn the story of Tony Lester. Tony, 26 years of age and suffering with schizophrenia tragically took his own life as he lingered in his prison cell, without proper medications and treatment, to ease the suffering he endured due to his debilitating illness. Wendy's ground breaking work in penetrating the great wall of silence within our state prison system was truly amazing. Wendy was able to obtain videos of Tony's last few moments of life through her fearless, "don't stop until the job is done attitude" The picture we see revealed in his final hours will create the guide for reform of Arizona's prison policy and procedures in treatment of those with mental disabilities for years to come. Tony Lester was a young man with a mental disability whose life unfortunately crossed with Arizona's criminal justice system. Tony's illness became a death sentence for him as all of our mental health system safety nets failed him. From the moment of Tony's first major psychotic break, when law enforcement was summoned rather than a Crisis Response Team, Tony's chances of survival grew dim. Arizona's courts do not place much importance on the state of mind a defendant has at the time a crime occurs but rather spend millions to be sure a defendant is competent at the time of trial. At trial we then prosecute to the fullest extent allowed by law, as we did in Tony's case and hand him a 12 year prison sentence, for his illness which was at the root of his desire to end his suffering. Some call it the definition of insanity, we do the same thing over and over again and each time expect a different result. Her work in bringing the story of Tony Lester's illness and treatment within the Arizona criminal justice system into the public view, has opened the eyes of the public as to what we can expect, when we allow a mental health system to fail and our prisons to become the largest psychiatric facilities in our state. Since Wendy Halloran's news story on Tony Lester has circulated, Arizona has seemed to have heard the sounding of the alarm, that our mentally disabled must have proper care. Meaningless punishment for a disease of the brain such as schizophrenia does nothing to heal the mind of the afflicted or keep our communities safe. The Tony Lester story has captured the attention of the Maricopa County Attorney and the Arizona Department of Corrections. Both of these important criminal justice players are currently involved in dialogue with The Arizona Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coalition. This has encouraged and promoted an open public discourse on mental health/criminal justice collaboration and reform.
  • Trouble in Mind

    Brandi Grissom spent nearly six months investigating the life, trial, conviction and incarceration of Andre Thomas. The six-part series explores the intersections of the mental health and criminal justice systems in Texas through the case of Andre Thomas, a death row inmate who began exhibiting signs of mental illness as a boy and committed a brutal triple murder in 2004. Blind because he pulled out both of his eyes while behind bars, Thomas awaits a federal court's decision on whether he is sane enough to be executed. The series examines the gaps in the Texas mental health system: holes in public education, the troubled juvenile justice system, underfunded mental health care services for adults, unprepared prisons and the still-developing jurisprudence around brain science. In addition to producing six in-depth stories, Grissom partnered with data reporters in the newsroom to produce interactive graphics that helped readers understand that disparities in the mental health system. She also partnered with the graphics team to create a comprehensive interactive timeline that detailed the tragic events of Thomas’ life, his crime, and his case with court documents and photos.
  • Get out of jail on a payment plan.

    New Jersey bail bond companies are making it possible for accused killers, thieves, drug dealers and individuals charged with gun-related crimes to go free on installment plan deals before trial without the knowledge of judges and prosecutors. It's a practice that has come in for criticism in states like Washington and Ohio where defendants set free on payment plan deals have been accused of murder. This is the first investigation to document how often defendants secure these deals.
  • The Nazi and the Psychiatrist

    The Nazi and the Psychiatrist is a book of narrative journalism about a young U.S. Army psychiatrist, Douglas M. Kelley, who went to Nuremberg in 1945 to assess the sanity of the top Nazi leaders being held for trial. Kelley developed a close relationship with the highest-ranking German, Hermann Göring. The psychiatrist's findings greatly influenced his career and led him into a downward spiral that concluded with his suicide in 1958. The book explores the connection between Kelley's work and his suicide, and evaluates the significance of his psychiatric studies of the Nazis.
  • A Mother Left to Die: The Truth, Trial and Cover-Up in Arpaio’s Jail

    Waiting for a tow truck on New Year’s Day 2005, 45-year-old Deborah Braillard, an insulin-dependent diabetic mother, was arrested on a minor drug charge. Braillard would never even get the chance to go before a judge to make bail. For three days in custody at Maricopa County’s Estrella Jail, she was deprived of insulin and denied medical attention.
  • Trial and Error

    “Trial and Error” is a year-long investigation into the way pharmaceutical drugs are tested and approved for sale in the United States. Our report examined the strength of the safety net that is supposed to ensure that the billion-dollar blockbuster drug of today won’t be the dangerous drug of tomorrow.
  • Scenes of a Crime

    'Scenes of a Crime' explores a 10-hour interrogation culminating in a disputed confession, and an intense, high-profile murder trial in New York state. In September 2008, an infant named Matthew Thomas lies brain dead in a hospital, and his doctor misdiagnoses a skull fracture. The doctor tells Troy, New York police that the child has been murdered, and the detectives bring the baby’s father, Adrian Thomas, in for questioning. Police video of the interrogation reveals the complicated psychological contest between detectives and their suspect over many hours, including lies, threats and coercion that are legally permitted by most courts.
  • Aviaton Week: Fractured Freedom -- U.S. Navy Warship Woes

    The U.S. Navy rushed through with the development, building and deployment of its first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), which is meant to anchor its coastal surface fleet plans through rest of the century and then sought to hide the problems with the ship and program, putting the lives of the crew in jeopardy. To report on the failures of the ship and program, Aviation Week crisscrossed the country -- even agreeing to an unsanctioned tour of the vessel and publication of the observations in spite of the threat of imprisonment. Besides threatening Aviation Week, the Navy at first also denied the allegations. After subsequent follow-ups on continuing ship and program problems, though, Navy officials not only acknowledged the veracity of the reports and detailed plans to fix the problems, but also invited the publication for an official tour of the ship during special trials to observe the improvements that likely will save sailor's lives.