Tags : justice

Behind the Story: How the Chicago Sun-Times helped bring a nephew of Mayor Richard M. Daley to justice in a 10-year-old homicide

By Paul Saltzman, Chicago Sun-Times

On Jan. 31, 2014, a nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in a death a decade earlier.

Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko admitted doing exactly what an investigation by the Chicago Sun-Times had revealed in early 2011 he did — and what police and prosecutors had twice refused to charge him with doing:

Punching a much smaller man named David Koschman in a drunken encounter outside the late night bars on Division Street in Chicago’s Rush Street nightlife district. Knocking him to the ground with a single punch ...

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Court dismisses FOIA lawsuit, upholds secrecy in drone killings of U.S. citizens

A federal court in Manhattan yesterday dismissed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit involving both The New York Times and the American Civil Liberties Union, who each sued the United States Department of Justice over records regarding the targeted drone killing of U.S. citizens Anwar Al-Awlaki and Samir Khan and Al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son Abdulrahman in the fall of 2012. The records in question included a memorandum from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, which outlines the legal justifications for the killings.

ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer said in a release on the ACLU website: “This ...

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Many arrested, few jailed in child porn crackdown

Police departments across America send newsrooms a constant stream of news releases and mug shots of people busted on child pornography charges. In North Carolina, law enforcement and prosecutors are stepping up efforts to arrest and charge sex offenders. The WTVD investigative team wanted to find out what happens to people charged with child pornography offenses. We faced several reporting hurdles, but ultimately discovered very few people face punishment for their crime. We decided to track exactly what kind of punishment convicted child pornographers received in North Carolina. County prosecutors and the state Attorney General told us off-camera that the ...

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CAR helps sort 40 years of forms in village justice series

When The New York Times decided to examine the qualifications of town and village justices, the CAR conundrum was more organizational than analytical. The state Office of Court Administration provided roughly 2,500 scanned PDF questionnaires that the justices had filled out, revealing their names, addresses, telephone numbers, courts, whether they served as a full- or part-time justice, any other occupation, justice salary, level of education and, in some instances, the number and type of cases handled in a year. The PDF forms spanned 40 years, the format had changed over time, many had been filled out by hand, some ... Read more ...

The scrutiny of lawyers

Last year, The Seattle Times published a series of devastating stories revealing secrets kept in our courts - secrets hidden away in files that should never have been sealed. The stories exposed misconduct or negligence by schools, hospitals, lawyers, state agencies, businesses and police. The series showed how judges had cavalierly — and improperly — granted wholesale secrecy that protected the powerful from embarrassment and deprived the public of vital information. Over the years, Times reporters often had encountered such secrecy in lawsuits that had key parts, usually the most telling or illuminating documents, hidden from the public. The series "Your Courts, Their ...

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Judges' financial conflicts draw little scrutiny

In February 2007, Milwaukee Magazine published an investigation of financial conflicts of interest by Milwaukee County circuit judges. In a three-year period, four local judges heard more than 200 cases involving companies in which they owned stock, and the state watchdogs never monitored the conflicts. The story ran nearly 10 months after I first called editor Bruce Murphy to pitch a simpler idea: Let’s look through 424 private civil cases overseen by the five local federal district judges during the 2006 fiscal year. But, Murphy was on assignment steroids that day, and he wanted to know how many state ...

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