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" ...

  • Taken: The Coldest Case Ever Solved

    CNN looked into the 1957 kidnapping and murder of Maria Ridulph, which went unsolved for half a century. The five-part series found that the suspect was interviewed and discounted during the early days of the investigation, as the FBI took over the case. His parents helped him establish an alibi, and his mother supposedly exposed his secret on her death bed. A sister launched the investigation that resulted in the arrest and conviction of Jack McCullough, who maintains his innocence to this day. McCullough was convicted after a four-day trial on what appeared to be thin evidence resulting from questionable legal rulings by an inexperienced judge. The most compelling evidence is the testimony of the eyewitness, who was 8 years old at the time and is now in her 60s. She says she is certain, and she appears to be a credible witness.
  • Toxic Legacy

    Employees of Technicoat, a metal coating company based in Fort Worth in the ‘70s and 80s, hired teenagers to dispose of industrial waste and harmful chemicals. None of the employees went through any kind of safety training or were given protective gear. Now many of the company’s former employees have either died from illnesses linked to chemical exposure or are currently battling illnesses that are likely related to being exposed to chemicals during their tenure at Technicoat. The story found that the city of Fort Worth and the Tarrant Regional Water District are still dealing with the environmental impact of the company’s illegal chemical dumping – sometimes down storm drains, in holes dug in the ground, or straight into the Trinity River – as the area that housed the Technicoat plant is being redeveloped. It also discovered that the company blatantly disregarded federal safety standards and was fined multiple times by different federal, state, and local agencies for environmental and safety violations.
  • Brian Ross Investigates: A Murder, A Mobster and the FBI

    This story started as a local news investigation into a stolen car but quickly revealed a tale of corruption inside the federal government, with national implications. We found a former Russian mobster, operating a thriving luxury car business in Florida, had been accused of various crimes by consumers - but that those crimes were not pursued by local police. In looking further at Mani Chulpayev, we found he had been a highly-regarded government informant, snitching on those in the Russian crime world. In return, it appeared he was being given a pass for crimes he continued to commit himself. As a result, the FBI has launched an investigation into the agent who was Chulpayev's handler for years. And Chulpayev now awaits trial for what prosecutors say was his role in the murder of a local hip-hop artist, amid allegations that the murder investigation had stalled for a year due to his handler's interference.
  • Haves and Have-Nots: Uganda's drug-trial business is booming - but is it fair?

    Drug trials in developing nations around the world are growing exponentially. They are cheap. Rules are more lax. Uganda is one of the leading places in the world where this trend is taking place. In one of the world’s AIDS epicenters, in Gulu, northern Uganda, children are given a choice: be part of a drug trial involving risky treatment and at least get regular medications. Or rely on public health programs that often mean regularly missing required dosages of life-saving pharmaceuticals. The result is emblematic of a system where the ethics of drug trials face a grim reality. “The problem is that inadequate medical care creates a strong impetus for parents to agree to have their kids in research,” said Elizabeth Woeckner, president of Citizens for Responsible Care and Research, an organization that works to protect people who are the subjects of scientific research. “What should be voluntary is not quite so.” In the last five years, drug trials in Uganda have nearly doubled. There have been more than 100 trials in the last five years there. Drug companies such as Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfizer and Novartis, as well as American agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute, work in places like Uganda because of the low cost and the number of patients who will sign up quickly for tests. At the same time, public funding for global health is diminishing. Despite safeguards, since the late 1990s a number of well-publicized cases have highlighted tests that appeared to violate ethical standards and regulations. While signing up for a trial is voluntary, that doesn’t make the decision easier – especially for parents who must decide what is best for their children, and knowing that the alternative means. This in-depth investigation goes beyond the surface to show the tough choices that arise from even the best intentioned drug trials, the vast sums of money at stake, and the seismic shift that has happened in the past decade for how the world tests drugs on humans.
  • Lobbyist in the Henhouse

    Lobbyist in the Henhouse is the product of a stunning seven-month investigation into what happens when an industrial lobbyist is hired to serve as Maine's top environmental official. Colin Woodard, a 2012 Polk winner, carefully documented how Patricia Aho, a corporate lobbyist who became commissioner of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, smothered programs and fought against laws that she had opposed on behalf of her former clients in the chemical, drug, oil and real estate development industries.
  • 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.