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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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST: The death of Justice Antonin Scalia leaves a big hole in the Supreme Court and a big opportunity for President Obama. That's because the court has been closely divided, five to four, on major social issues for years. Now the White House has a chance to shift the balance of power with a new Democratic appointee. Well, with us to talk about who that appointee might be is NPR justice correspondent...

Justice Antonin Scalia loved a good fight. So it's only fitting that news of his death at age 79 ignited an immediate and partisan battle over who might take his place on the U.S. Supreme Court. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kent., said the vacancy should not be filled until the new president takes office. And Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican who leads the Judiciary Committee, which would oversee any nomination, said it's "standard practice over the the last 80 years" for...

The director of the federal government team that interrogates key terrorism suspects has a message for people who want to see a return to waterboarding and other abusive strategies: They don't work. Frazier Thompson, who leads the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, said research demonstrates that "rapport-based techniques elicit the most credible information." In an interview at FBI headquarters this week, Thompson added: "I can tell you that everything that we do is humane, lawful and...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: The the U.S. Justice Department is suing Ferguson, Mo. The civil rights lawsuit follows months of back-and-forth over a settlement that was supposed to clean up the city's police force, jail and local court system. With us to talk about the case is NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson. Hi, Carrie. CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Hi, Ari. SHAPIRO: What's the basis for this lawsuit? JOHNSON: So, Ari, remember....

A federal judge has ordered the Justice Department to file court briefs by Wednesday explaining why some portion of the remaining Hillary Clinton emails, subject to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Vice News, cannot be produced by Feb. 18. U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras said after a 30-minute hearing in federal court in Washington, D.C., that the government "has put me between a rock and a hard place" with respect to 7,000 pages of yet-to-be-released Clinton emails from her...

The decision by Hillary Clinton to use a private email server as secretary of state has spawned an FBI investigation, multiple congressional inquiries and dozens of private lawsuits that demand copies of her messages. It's also become an issue in her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Republicans on the campaign trail have raised the prospect that Clinton could be charged with a crime — even as she downplays the FBI probe and asserts she wants voters to be able to see all of her...

The Justice Department has named a veteran prosecutor from Philadelphia as the new leader of its pardon office, which is trying to review more than 9,000 petitions in the final year of the Obama presidency. Robert Zauzmer, 55, has worked since 1990 at the U.S. attorney's office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Justice Department leaders said Zauzmer represented a "natural choice" for the pardon job, in part because of his experience training prosecutors all over the country in how to...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: There's a new turn in the controversy over Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. The State Department says it will not release 22 of those emails because they are top-secret. With us to talk about the issue is NPR's Carrie Johnson, and Carrie, what's known about these messages that the State Department says that they won't be making public? CARRIE JOHNSON,...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: We're going to turn now to an urgent call being made to overhaul federal prisons and focus on the most serious criminals. A bipartisan task force says the U.S. Bureau of Prisons spends billions of dollars every year with little benefit to public safety. NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson reports. CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: For the past year, former Congressman J.C. Watts of Oklahoma took a hard look...

A bipartisan task force created by Congress issued "an urgent call to action" Tuesday to overhaul the nation's federal prisons and reduce the number of U.S. inmates by 60,000 over the next decade. A new report from the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections found that punitive mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes represent "the primary driver" of prison overcrowding. The report recommends they be reserved for the most violent offenders. The report said almost 80 percent of...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: On Capitol Hill today, Republicans blasted the Obama administration's executive actions on guns. The president wasn't there to defend them. Instead, his attorney general took the grilling. NPR's justice correspondent Carrie Johnson reports. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) RICHARD SHELBY: This hearing will come to order. CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Senator Richard Shelby, a Republican from Alabama, opened...

For months, FBI Director James Comey has been warning about a troubling spike in homicides in some of America's biggest cities. On Tuesday, the bureau released preliminary crime statistics that back up some of his concerns. The FBI reported that violent crime rose in the first six months of 2015, with murders increasing by more than 6 percent over that same stretch the year before. Preliminary FBI data indicated rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults also grew from January to June 2015. The...

It's not every day the White House and Republican leaders in Congress have a meeting of the minds. But before he left for the holidays, the president singled out an issue he considers ripe for compromise next year. "I still want to work with Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, to reform our criminal justice system," President Obama said. Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan has been sounding a hopeful note, too, telling an audience recently: "I do believe that there are things where we...

The Commonwealth Court in Pennsylvania unanimously ruled Wednesday that a state law that prevents convicted criminals from getting full-time jobs in nursing homes or long-term-care facilities is unconstitutional. By a 7-0 vote, the court found the law violates the due process rights of otherwise law-abiding people who may have run afoul of the justice system decades earlier. The court also concluded that a lifetime ban on employment for people convicted of crimes is not "substantially related...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: President Obama this week is expected to grant nearly 100 prisoners early release or pardons. It's part of a major White House push to offer clemency. With about a year to go in the Obama presidency, the clemency numbers are falling short of the administration's rhetoric. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports on why. CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: In January 2014, the Obama administration announced a plan to offer...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: We are learning more today about the shooters responsible for last week's attack in San Bernardino. Speaking on Capitol Hill today, FBI Director James Comey said the husband and wife who shot and killed 14 people both radicalized years before their courtship. And he said they appear to have been inspired in part by the Islamic State. NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson reports. CARRIE JOHNSON,...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: In this hour, we look at the use of force by police, first in Chicago and then Cincinnati, where reforms have changed policing for the better. We'll begin with today's announcement from the U.S. Department of Justice. They are launching a broad civil rights investigation into the Chicago Police Department. This follows the uproar over several fatal police shootings there. NPR justice correspondent...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: This is a morning when we're all figuring out the news together. We do not have answers. We do have some evidence about the suspects in the San Bernardino shootings. With us to talk about all this and weave together the evidence we have is NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson. She's been talking with law enforcement officials. Carrie, good morning. CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve....

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: We are still getting details about a mass shooting in San Bernardino about an hour east of Los Angeles. There are reports of victims, though we have not confirmed the numbers yet. We do know that the shooting took place at the Inland Regional Center. It's part of the California Department of Developmental Services. I'm joined now by NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson. And Carrie, tell us what we...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: U.S. authorities have arrested 56 people this year in connection with their ties to the Islamic State. According to a new report, that is the highest number of Americans charged with terrorism-related offenses since September 11. The new study examined hundreds of court documents as well as the social media accounts of ISIS sympathizers. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports that the information gives a better...

The jurors who will be chosen to hear the first case against a police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore will be anonymous, at least for now. A judge has ruled that their identities can be shielded from the public. That practice is controversial, but not unheard of in high-profile cases. Experts trace the first completely anonymous jury — secret not just to the media, but also to the defendant — to 1977. That's when a judge worried about possible jury tampering by a...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The bipartisan effort to overhaul the criminal justice system for drug offenders has hit a speed bump. Some members of Congress are trying to tie those lighter punishments for drug defendants to a new bill that the Justice Department says would make it harder to prosecute a range of crimes from food safety to business fraud. The plan, passed by voice vote by the House Judiciary Committee to little notice last week, would require prosecutors to prove guilt to a higher standard in many cases,...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: As the investigation in Paris continues, U.S. law enforcement is working overtime to find and disrupt terrorist plots in this country. A recent video by the Islamic State identified Washington, D.C., as one possible target. NPR's Carrie Johnson spoke with the top FBI official in the city about the threat. CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Paul Abbate is a longtime FBI counterterrorism expert. Abbate worked in Iraq...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: The U.S. attorney general says federal law enforcement is doing everything possible to prevent what happened in Paris from happening in the U.S. Loretta Lynch also says the Justice Department has pledged to help investigate the Paris attacks. NPR's Carrie Johnson has more. CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Loretta Lynch began her first congressional oversight hearing as attorney general by expressing condolences...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: We turn now to the investigation into the Paris attacks, and NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson is here for that. Carrie, what are authorities in France doing right now to find the people who planned and carried out these shootings and bombings? CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: So French President Hollande says these attacks were planned in Syria, organized in Belgium and carried out in France. It's not...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: We're going to speak now with NPR's justice correspondent Carrie Johnson. She's been reaching out to law enforcement officials here in the U.S. And, Carrie, to begin, what are you hearing from the FBI or Homeland Security about the events in Paris? CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Audie, first of all, Attorney General Loretta Lynch who leads the Justice Department and the FBI has put out a statement saying the...

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