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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3:20am

Thu April 12, 2012
Law

Does The Case Against John Edwards Go Too Far?

Originally published on Fri April 13, 2012 10:22 am

Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards (left) speaks to the media with attorney Abbe Lowell last October. His trial on alleged campaign finance violations is set to begin Thursday.
Chuck Burton AP

Prospective jurors head to court in North Carolina on Thursday to find out whether they'll be chosen to sit in judgment of former U.S. Sen. John Edwards.

Only four years ago, Edwards was running for the White House as a Democratic candidate. Now, he's a defendant, fighting campaign finance charges that could send him away for as long as 30 years.

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6:04pm

Thu April 5, 2012
The Two-Way

'Enforcer' For Violent Mexican Drug Cartel Faces Life Sentence

The self described enforcer for a violent Juarez, Mexico, drug cartel has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, racketeering and murder charges that could send him away for the rest of his life.

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5:25pm

Thu April 5, 2012
The Two-Way

Former CIA Officer Indicted For Allegedly Sharing Secrets With Reporters

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 6:49 pm

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou, leaves federal court in Alexandria, Va., in January.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

A federal grand jury in Virginia has indicted former CIA officer John Kiriakou on charges that he violated the Espionage Act by allegedly sharing secret information about some of his colleagues with reporters.

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11:55am

Fri March 30, 2012
The Two-Way

FBI's Outgoing Cyber Cop Says Americans Don't See Size Of Threat

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 1:17 pm

Outgoing FBI Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

The FBI's top cyber cop retires today after nearly a quarter century in federal law enforcement.

Shawn Henry started looking into computer issues in the run up to Y2K (the arrival of the year 2000). He says that experience left him hungry to learn more about the way electronics were changing the way we live — and the way criminals operate.The movement of so much sensitive information online poses an "existential threat," according to Henry.

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5:10pm

Wed March 28, 2012
It's All Politics

Supreme Court Limits Damage Payments To Whistle-Blowers

Originally published on Fri March 30, 2012 2:14 pm

Under Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling, whistle-blowers like Linda Tripp (seen here in 1998) have few options in suing the government for damages.
Mark Wilson Reuters/Landov

The Supreme Court has dealt privacy advocates a huge setback. By a 5-3 majority, the court ruled that people who sue the government for invading their privacy can only recover out-of-pocket damages. And whistle-blower lawyers say that leaves victims who suffer emotional trouble and smeared reputations with few if any options.

Justice Samuel Alito and all four of his conservative colleagues turned back a challenge from a pilot named Stan Cooper. (Justice Elena Kagan did not participate in the case.)

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4:15pm

Wed March 28, 2012
The Two-Way

Prosecutor Says A Desire To Win Led To Misconduct In Sen. Steven's Case

Originally published on Wed March 28, 2012 4:26 pm

Special federal prosecutor Henry F. Schuelke testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday.
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

A special prosecutor who spent two years exploring Justice Department misconduct in the botched case against late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) said "contest living" — the desire to win a big case — explained the failure to follow the rules in one of the biggest political corruption prosecutions in decades.

"[Lawyers] do not want to have to undermine our case if it can possibly be avoided," investigator Hank Schuelke told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. "That motive to win the case was the principal operative motive."

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9:50am

Tue March 27, 2012
The Two-Way

Justice Department's Handling Of Sen. Stevens Case To Be Aired On Capitol Hill

Originally published on Tue March 27, 2012 9:54 am

Former Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, in 2008.
Alex Wong Getty Images

The Justice Department's 'systematic concealment" of evidence that might have helped the late Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, defend himself in a corruption case will get a fresh airing Wednesday, when special prosecutor Henry Schuelke offers Senate testimony about his blistering 500-page report.

He's due to be before the Senate Judiciary Committee at 10 a.m. ET.

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4:04am

Wed March 21, 2012
Law

FBI Still Struggling With Supreme Court's GPS Ruling

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 1:11 pm

FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before a House Appropriations Committee panel on March 7.
T.J. Kirkpatrick Getty Images

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court said police had overstepped their legal authority by planting a GPS tracker on the car of a suspected drug dealer without getting a search warrant. It seemed like another instance in a long line of cases that test the balance between personal privacy and the needs of law enforcement.

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3:11pm

Tue March 20, 2012
Law

Without Parole, Juveniles Face Bleak Life In Prison

Charles Dutton is an award-winning actor. But as a juvenile, he wound up in prison for manslaughter and other crimes.
Andrew Kent Getty Images

We hear a lot about juvenile offenders when they commit a crime — and again, when they're sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in prison. But not much is known about what happens after the prison gates slam shut.

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10:05am

Fri March 16, 2012
The Two-Way

Obama Needs To Share More About Patriot Act Program, Senators Say

Originally published on Fri March 16, 2012 2:03 pm

Two Senate Democrats want the Justice Department to share more details about how it interprets a key provision of the Patriot Act. The lawmakers say the public has a right to know about a sensitive intelligence gathering program.

So Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden and Colorado Democrat Mark Udall have sent a letter of complaint to the attorney general. The senators say people would be stunned to know how the government is going about getting business records and other information under the U.S. Patriot Act.

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5:56pm

Thu March 15, 2012
Law

Report: Prosecutors Hid Evidence In Ted Stevens Case

Then-Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, in 2008.
Alex Wong Getty Images

An extraordinary special investigation by a federal judge has concluded that two Justice Department prosecutors intentionally hid evidence in the case against Sen. Ted Stevens, one of the biggest political corruption cases in recent history.

A blistering report released Thursday found that the government team concealed documents that would have helped the late Stevens, a longtime Republican senator from Alaska, defend himself against false-statements charges in 2008. Stevens lost his Senate seat as the scandal played out, and he died in a plane crash two years later.

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12:01am

Wed March 14, 2012
U.S.

As Gangs Move To New York Suburbs, So Does Crime

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 11:45 am

Law enforcement agents raid a home where the occupants are suspected of selling drugs last month in Middletown, N.Y. For three months, court papers say, authorities tracked them using wiretaps and cameras set up on telephone poles and trees.
Chet Gordon AP

Over the past few years, authorities have arrested more than 200 gang members in an unexpected place: the tree-lined suburbs along the Hudson River in New York.

Drug traffickers with ties to the Bloods, the Latin Kings and other gangs have put down roots there. Authorities say they brought shootings and stabbings with them.

Middletown, N.Y., is 90 minutes northwest of the city. On West Main Street, you can find tidy brick buildings from the 1800s, a brew pub, and a restaurant that sells fresh mussels and escargot.

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4:30pm

Thu March 8, 2012
The Two-Way

Congressman Proposes Stiffer Penalties For Those Who Lie To Buy Guns

A Democratic Congressman has introduced legislation that would impose tough new penalties on people who lie when they buy guns.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Ca.) says the bill, the Straw Purchaser Penalty Enhancement Act, would give federal agents new tools to crack down on the flow of weapons across the Southwest border into Mexico.

Nowadays, many episodes where people lie about the true identity of the purchaser of guns, or engage in straw purchases, never get prosecuted at all, Schiff says in an interview with NPR.

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4:54pm

Tue March 6, 2012
Law

To Solve Hacking Case, Feds Get Hacker Of Their Own

The LulzSec icon on Twitter.
Twitter

Federal prosecutors have charged five men with responsibility for some of the biggest computer hacks in the past few years. The FBI says the hackers penetrated the computer systems of businesses like Fox Broadcasting and Sony Pictures, stole confidential information and splashed it all over the Internet.

But what's most unusual about the case is how investigators cracked it — with the help of an insider who became a secret government informant.

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12:40pm

Tue March 6, 2012
The Two-Way

FBI Offers $1 Million For Information Leading To Safe Return Of Retired Agent

Robert Levinson in an FBI array.
FBI

The FBI is offering a $1 million reward for information leading directly to the safe return of one of its retired agents.

Robert Levinson disappeared five years ago this week on Kish Island, Iran. He worked at the FBI for 22 years before he retired, taking as a private detective. It was that job that sent him to Iran in March 2007, where he went missing.

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