Tags : justice

Federal, state data used to track civil asset forfeitures in Virginia

When police seize cash, cars and other property, it’s usually taken through a legal process known as civil asset forfeiture.

Critics say the system gives police a financial incentive to take property with relative ease and makes it difficult for people to get it back.

We wanted to take a look at how much money is flowing through local departments as a result of this process. It turned out to be a lot.

In Virginia, agencies received more than $57 million over the past six years, according to the findings of a Virginian-Pilot examination of state and federal data ...

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Watch live: Google Hangout on execution secrecy

Today starting at 12 p.m. CDT we’ll be talking about how to investigate the death penalty and shed light on secrecy surrounding lethal injection practices. To watch the broadcast and submit questions, click here. You can also tweet us questions at @IRE_NICAR using the hashtag #IREHangout.

We’ll be joined by four journalists who have been covering executions: Ziva Branstetter of the Tulsa World, Chris McDaniel of St. Louis Public Radio, Brian Haas of The Tennessean and Della Hasselle, a contributor to The Lens.

After the broadcast, the recording will be posted to our Hangouts page.

Join us Wednesday for a Google Hangout on execution secrecy

Tune in Wednesday at 12 p.m. CDT to discuss coverage of the death penalty and the secrecy surrounding lethal injection procedures. We’ll be joined by four journalists who have been investigating executions:

  • Ziva Branstetter, enterprise editor at the Tulsa World and one of the witnesses to the botched Oklahoma execution of Clayton Lockett. You can follow her coverage of the case here.
  • Chris McDaniel, political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio. McDaniel has been involved in a lawsuit to free up information surrounding lethal injection drugs. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon also recently won IRE’s not-so-coveted Golden Padlock ...
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Journalists discuss reporting on wrongful convictions

By Emily Burns

David Krajicek was a reporter at the New York Daily News in 1989 when the Central Park jogger case grabbed the attention of all of New York. Krajicek was assigned to report on the case, and at a panel on the media’s role in reporting in wrongful convictions on Thursday, Krajicek said errors were made in the overall reporting of the case.

Since then, Krajicek has continued to report on criminal justice, and also studies media’s influence and role in wrongful convictions. This past winter, Krajicek looked into three wrongful conviction cases to see what ...

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Multiple data sets used to track fugitives who go free

In December 2011, a man fleeing from a drug robbery shot and killed New York City police officer Peter Figoski. New York reacted with understandable outrage, particularly when newspapers there revealed that the officer’s killer, Lamont Pride, should have been in jail at the time.

The police in Greensboro, N.C. were already after Pride on charges that he had shot another man during an argument. But when Pride ...

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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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