Carrie Johnson

Carrie Johnson is a Justice Correspondent for the Washington Desk.

She covers a wide variety of stories about justice issues, law enforcement and legal affairs for NPR's flagship programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as the Newscasts and NPR.org.

While in this role, Johnson has chronicled major challenges to the landmark voting rights law, a botched law enforcement operation targeting gun traffickers along the Southwest border, and the Obama administration's deadly drone program for suspected terrorists overseas.

Prior to coming to NPR in 2010, Johnson worked at the Washington Post for 10 years, where she closely observed the FBI, the Justice Department and criminal trials of the former leaders of Enron, HealthSouth and Tyco. Earlier in her career, she wrote about courts for the weekly publication Legal Times.

Outside of her role at NPR, Johnson regularly moderates or appears on legal panels for the American Bar Association, the American Constitution Society, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and others. She's talked about her work on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, PBS, and other outlets.

Her work has been honored with awards from the Society for Professional Journalists and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. She has been a finalist for the Loeb award for financial journalism and for the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news for team coverage of the massacre at Fort Hood, Texas.

Johnson is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Benedictine University in Illinois.

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2:47am

Fri August 17, 2012
Law

When The Lawyer Becomes The Object Of Prosecution

Originally published on Fri August 17, 2012 11:06 am

U.S. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer says Charles Daum, a longtime lawyer, betrayed his profession.
Alex Wong Getty Images

For more than 30 years, Charles Daum made a living by defending people accused of run-of-the-mill crimes. Then he met a charismatic Washington, D.C.-area man charged with distributing cocaine.

What happened next is a plot worthy of a television crime drama.

The accused drug dealer, Delante White, turned the tables and helped convict his own defense lawyer of manufacturing evidence and putting on false testimony to help the drug dealer's case.

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3:24am

Fri August 10, 2012
U.S.

Sikh Shooting Puts Focus On Hate Groups At Home

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 6:28 am

Rescue workers stand in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City after an explosion on April 19, 1995. The bombing killed 168 people.
David Longstreath AP

The slaying of six people at a Sikh temple by a gunman with ties to white supremacists has raised questions about the scope of domestic terrorism — and what law enforcement is doing to stop it.

Federal law enforcement agencies cracked down hard on homegrown extremists after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people, including 19 children at a day care center. Many leaders went to prison, died or went bankrupt.

But in recent years, the spread of the Internet, the worsening economy and changing demographic patterns have been giving new voice to hate groups.

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5:32pm

Tue August 7, 2012
The Two-Way

Fast And Furious Whistle-blower Reaches Agreement Over Retaliation Claims

Peter Forcelli, an ATF agent who blew the whistle on management lapses in the gun trafficking scandal known as Fast and Furious, has reached an agreement with the bureau over his retaliation claims.

A lawyer for Forcelli declined to disclose the terms of the settlement because it was the product of a confidential mediation process.

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2:43pm

Mon August 6, 2012
The Two-Way

Men Convicted In Infamous 1984 D.C. Murder Lose Bid To Overturn Judgments

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 4:36 pm

A judge in Washington, D.C., has turned back an effort by seven men charged with a notorious 1984 murder to overturn their convictions, ruling the evidence against them remains "overwhelming" and the testimony of witnesses who changed their story are "not worthy of belief."

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5:20pm

Thu August 2, 2012
It's All Politics

Head Of Embattled ATF Says Running Bureau 'Testing All Of My Skill Sets'

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 8:00 pm

B. Todd Jones, acting director of the ATF, speaks in Washington in 2010 while Attorney General Eric Holder looks on.
Brendan Smialowski Getty Images

Nearly a year ago, Justice Department leaders turned to B. Todd Jones to solve one of their most urgent problems: a crisis at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The former U.S. Marine answered the call to duty and agreed to serve as ATF's acting director. His mission: to turn the bureau around in the face of congressional investigations that have shaken ATF to its core.

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4:32pm

Mon July 30, 2012
Law

Lawmakers Tangle Over Renewing Surveillance Law

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 5:46 pm

The Justice Department and the intelligence community say reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act, which expires at the end of the year, is their top national security priority. But an interesting mix of senators are sounding alarms about whether the government is secretly gathering too much information on innocent Americans, and keeping it for far too long. They cite a newly declassified letter that exposes an incident where even the Obama administration acknowledges it went too far.

12:12pm

Thu July 26, 2012
The Two-Way

Justice Department Employees Cited For Nepotism In Hiring

Originally published on Thu July 26, 2012 3:37 pm

The Justice Department inspector general has uncovered what he calls illegal hiring practices at the federal agency. In a new report he cites eight employees for trying to find jobs for their children and other relatives.

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5:47pm

Tue July 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Judge Orders Release Of Man Accused Of Negotiating On Behalf Of Somali Pirates

A federal judge has ordered the U.S. government to free a man accused of negotiating on behalf of Somali pirates, pending a Justice Department appeal.

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2:48pm

Mon July 23, 2012
The Two-Way

To Reduce Spending On Prisons, Justice Wants To Speed Up Release Dates

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 3:13 pm

In a theme playing out all over the country, Justice Department officials are proposing new ways to put the brakes on massive prison expenditures that have been eating up a bigger portion of their flat-lined annual budget.

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3:02am

Wed July 18, 2012
Law

For Pirates, U.S. Courts Offer No Safe Harbor

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 9:57 am

The German tanker Marida Marguerite, which was hijacked off the coast of Oman in 2010.
Dietmar Hasenpusch EPA/Landov

It's a bad time to be a pirate, at least in the American justice system.

Piracy on the high seas is one of the oldest crimes on the books. But U.S. authorities are using 18th century law in new ways to go after people who may never actually climb on board a ship and the men who negotiate and finance the plots.

About 1,000 pirates are in custody all over the world; about 30 of them are incarcerated in the United States.

Capturing Pirates Over Tea

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