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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5:24pm

Wed September 18, 2013
Law

Push To End Mandatory Minimums Makes Strange Bedfellows

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 8:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

On Capitol Hill today, a rare acknowledgement from lawmakers that they are partly to blame for the country's crowded prisons. Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, opened a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this way.

SENATOR PATRICK LEAHY: We must reevaluate how many people we send to prison and for how long.

SIEGEL: Leahy wants to dial back the long prison sentences that Congress approved during the war on drugs and he's got some surprising allies.

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11:51am

Thu September 12, 2013
The Two-Way

New FBI Chief Says Budget Cuts Threaten Agency's Mission

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 1:10 pm

Newly minted FBI Director James Comey speaks at a swearing-in ceremony last week at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C.
Susan Walsh AP

In his first full week on the job, new FBI Director Jim Comey is already expressing "intense concern" about budget cuts hitting the bureau as part of sequestration.

Comey used his first visits to FBI field offices in Virginia and New York, where he once served as a federal prosecutor, to sound an alarm about the ability to fulfill the agency's mission in a time of belt tightening.

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3:02am

Tue September 3, 2013
Law

Justice Department Tackles Quality Of Defense For The Poor

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 11:37 am

People wait in line outside the Supreme Court in February. In a landmark decision half a century ago, the justices guaranteed a lawyer for criminal defendants who are too poor to afford one.
Evan Vucci AP

All over the country, lawyers who defend poor people in criminal cases have been sharing their stories about painful budget cuts. Some federal public defenders have shut their doors to new clients after big layoffs. And in many states, the public defense system has operated in crisis for years.

But an unprecedented recent court filing from the Justice Department has cheered the typically overburdened attorneys who represent the poor and could have dramatic implications for the representation of indigent defendants.

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3:20pm

Tue August 27, 2013
The Two-Way

U.S. 'Ought To Respect' State Marijuana Laws, Sen. Leahy Says

Sen. Patrick Leahy is calling on the Justice Department to state its position on marijuana's legal status. Here, a man inspects a shirt depicting the U.S. flag made of marijuana symbols, at a medical marijuana show in Los Angeles earlier this year.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he's done waiting for answers about how the Justice Department will handle marijuana offenses in states that have legalized small amounts of the drug.

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7:24pm

Mon August 26, 2013
The Two-Way

Justice Backs Less Protective Ruling On Reporter Privilege

In a case closely watched by the intelligence community and the media, the Justice Department urged a federal appeals court on Monday to leave in place a court ruling that gives reporters little protection from testifying against their sources in criminal prosecutions.

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8:12pm

Thu August 22, 2013
National Security

Outgoing FBI Boss On His Legacy And What Kept Him Up At Night

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 7:25 am

FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in June.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

For a man at the center of so many critical government actions, with a portfolio that includes preventing terrorist strikes and cyberattacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller has mostly avoided the limelight since he joined the bureau just a week before Sept. 11, 2001.

As his friend and former CIA Director George Tenet says, Mueller represents a different type.

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4:22am

Wed August 7, 2013
Law

With Holder In The Lead, Sentencing Reform Gains Momentum

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 11:21 am

Attorney General Eric Holder is calling for significant changes to the way the nation deals with convicted criminals. And he's not alone.
Evan Vucci AP

Sit down with the attorney general to ask him about his priorities, as NPR did earlier this year, and he'll talk about voting rights and national security. But if you listen a bit longer, Eric Holder gets to this: "I think there are too many people in jail for too long, and for not necessarily good reasons."

This is the nation's top law enforcement officer calling for a sea change in the criminal justice system. And he's not alone.

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4:54pm

Thu August 1, 2013
Politics

New ATF Head Is Its First Senate-Confirmed Leader In 7 Years

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 5:48 pm

After a long delay, the Senate has finally confirmed B. Todd Jones to be the first permanent director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives. Who is he and what took so long?

7:36pm

Thu July 25, 2013
It's All Politics

For Holder, An Intersection Of The Personal And Political

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 7:45 pm

Attorney General Eric Holder speaks Thursday at the National Urban League annual conference in Philadelphia.
Matt Rourke AP

Hours before Attorney General Eric Holder announced he would seek new federal powers to protect minority voters in the state of Texas, the country's top law enforcement officer mingled at a Washington event about a topic that hit close to home.

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2:21pm

Fri July 19, 2013
The Two-Way

U.S. Judge 'Troubled' By Government Drone-Strike Policy

A federal judge considering a constitutional challenge to drone strikes that killed three U.S. citizens in Yemen says she's "troubled" by the idea that the courts have no role to play in what's essentially a political dispute.

Over nearly two hours of arguments in her standing-room-only Washington, D.C. courtroom, Judge Rosemary Collyer repeatedly pressed the Obama administration about its claim to a broad right to use lethal force against Americans engaged in conflict overseas, demanding more than once that government lawyers put a "fence" around their position.

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