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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.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has strongly condemned shootings of law enforcement officers in Texas and Illinois and issued an unequivocal message of support for police. "We have had four more guardians slain, and frankly our hearts are broken," the attorney general said Wednesday in remarks to a fair housing conference in Washington, D.C. "I offer the families of these officers my condolences, and I ask that all of us come together and keep them in our prayers." Lynch, the first black...

California authorities have agreed to sharply limit the number of inmates held in isolation for long periods of time, a major development in the national debate about solitary confinement. The agreement resolves a class-action lawsuit filed by prisoners who say the practice amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. Advocates say it could change the daily lives of as many as 2,000 inmates stuck in isolation because authorities determined they had some ties to a gang. The inmates live in tiny...

A longtime federal judge struggled Monday over what constitutes justice for members of one of Washington, D.C.'s most notorious drug rings. Senior U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth pressed a public defender about the fate of Melvin Butler, a man who helped flood the city with cocaine that contributed to waves of violence in the late 1980s. "You're saying that I can't consider the fact that he was one of the biggest drug dealers in the history of our city?" the judge asked. "Congress has...

A 20-year member of Congress indicted on racketeering charges is challenging restrictions on his ability to meet with colleagues as "an undue and unnecessary burden...that is effectively impairing his ability" to do his job. Last month, a federal grand jury in Philadelphia indicted Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Penn., on conspiracy, bribery, and fraud counts for allegedly using political campaigns and nonprofit groups to cover personal expenses and evade campaign finance laws. Fattah has pleaded not...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: The Federal Bureau of Investigation came up with an effective way to gather information - investigators masqueraded as the news media. This really bothers people who are in the news media, which is why the Associated Press and a reporter's group are suing the FBI. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports. CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Back in 2007, someone kept making bomb threats to a high school in Washington state....

The Justice Department is trying to make it easier for Native American tribes to gain access to national crime databases. Federal authorities say the program could prevent criminals from buying guns and help keep battered women and foster children safe. The issue of who can see information in federal criminal databases might sound boring, until one considers a deadly shooting at a high school in Washington state last year. Deputy U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates recalled the case, "where a...

This post was updated at 2:30 p.m. ET with comment from Sen. Menendez's spokesperson. The Justice Department forcefully defended its prosecutors Monday against allegations of misconduct and perjury lodged by lawyers for Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and an eye doctor who served as one of his longtime donors. Prosecutors said their "exhaustive, focused and disciplined investigation" ferreted out "a stream of bribes" the senator solicited and accepted from Salomon Melgen,...

For now, federal authorities characterize the Justice Department inquiry into Hillary Clinton's private email server as a security situation: a simple matter of finding out whether classified information leaked out during her tenure as secretary of state, and where it went. Except, former government officials said, that's not going to be so simple. "I think that the FBI will be moving with all deliberate speed to determine whether there were serious breaches of national security here," said...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: For Democrats, the race for the White House is still clogged with questions about Hillary Clinton's email practices. For Republicans, Donald Trump still reigns. In a moment, the debate over birthright citizenship he started. First, NPR's Carrie Johnson reports that the inquiries into Clinton's emails are intensifying. CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: For now, federal authorities characterize the Justice...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: Many cities with a homeless problem have responded by passing laws that crack down on camping or sleeping in public places. In some places, they've effectively criminalized homelessness. Well, now the Obama administration is weighing in, arguing that for those who have no choice, sleeping in public is not a crime. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports. CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Seven homeless people in Boise,...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: Now a story about a professor in Oregon who says when she told her employer she was pregnant, she got a pink slip instead of congratulations. That's because she worked at a Christian school and because she's not married. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports. CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Coty Richardson spent four years teaching exercise science at Northwest Christian University. She says she loved in the small...

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers throughout our newsroom share pieces that have kept them reading. They share tidbits using the #NPRreads hashtag — and on Fridays, we highlight some of the best stories. This week, we bring you three items. From NPR's South America correspondent, Lourdes Garcia-Navarro: When the news about the murder of "Cecil the Lion" broke, I was...

Advocates and inmates working to overhaul the criminal justice system will have to wait at least a little longer for congressional action. The Republican leader of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Charles Grassley, said he won't hold a public event on sentencing reform proposals until after the August recess, as language is still being drafted by a bipartisan working group. And in the U.S. House, lawmakers and their aides will spend at least the next five weeks making adjustments to a sweeping...

Justice Department lawyers who prosecute errant corporations and executives are bringing in a new member to the team — a full-time expert in compliance programs. Andrew Weissmann, who leads the Fraud Section in the criminal division at the Justice Department, said the new hire is all part of a plan to reduce corporate crime. "We are seeking to assure that companies have tough but realistic compliance programs that detect and deter individual wrongdoing by executives," Weissmann said. ...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: A Democrat who has served 20 years in the House of Representatives has been indicted on racketeering charges. Federal prosecutors accuse Pennsylvania congressman Chaka Fattah of enriching himself and his associates. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports. CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: U.S. attorney Zane Memeger unveiled the charges at a news conference in Philadelphia. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) ZANE MEMEGER:...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: One of the biggest spy cases of the past 30 years is drawing to a close. Today, the U.S. Parole Commission unanimously recommended that Jonathan Pollard be released. He had pleaded guilty to selling classified information to Israel. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports. CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: The real-life espionage case seemed more like a movie when it broke back in 1985. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)...

It took a while for Dana Bowerman's long prison sentence to sink in. Bowerman is a onetime honor student and cheerleader whose brassy personality cleared most obstacles from her path. But there was one hurdle her quick mind couldn't leap. In early 2001, Bowerman got sent away for nearly 20 years on federal drug conspiracy charges, her first and only offense. It wasn't until two years in, in her bunk behind a fence in a Texas prison, that her fate seemed real. "It was a hard swallow," Bowerman...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: The prison doors may open soon for a man convicted of spying for Israel nearly 30 years ago. Jonathan Pollard's prosecution generated international tensions, and the Israeli government has long pressed for his release. But White House officials say foreign-policy considerations will play no role in his parole. With us to talk about the case is NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson. And Carrie,...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: The watchdog for the nation's intelligence agencies says it has uncovered classified emails from the private server of Hillary Clinton. The inspector general has asked the FBI to look into the possible compromise of sensitive information. At the same time, Republicans on Capitol Hill are renewing their call for Clinton, the frontrunner in the Democratic presidential race, to hand over that server....

The Justice Department's top watchdog said Thursday a newly released legal opinion undermines his independence and makes it more difficult to do his job. Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said the memo will delay access to grand jury, wiretap and other documents he needs to investigate problems at the Justice Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI and elsewhere. The legal memo, dated July 20 but made public Thursday, enshrines a process that in many instances puts the...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: The man accused of killing nine people at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., now faces federal hate crime charges that could lead to the death penalty. Attorney General Loretta Lynch today announced that a federal grand jury had returned a 33-count indictment against the accused shooter, Dylann Roof. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) LORETTA LYNCH: The parishioners had Bibles. Dylann Roof had...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: For years, reformers have been complaining that the justice system is out of whack, but now they're hearing that sentiment echoed from the White House. This week, President Obama agreed to shorten the prison sentences of 46 people locked up for nonviolent drug crimes, and he says there's more to come. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports. CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: The president says the power to shorten prison...

When Chuck Rosenberg took the top job at the Drug Enforcement Administration two months ago, the longtime prosecutor had a reputation as "Mister Fix It." The DEA has had a rough time lately — including scandals like agents at sex parties financed by drug cartels. He's now going to be keenly interested in the whereabouts of Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who recently escaped from prison. But there was something else that has really taken Rosenberg's breath away these first few...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: The FBI says the man accused of killing nine people in a Charleston, S.C., church last month should not have been able to buy a gun. Weeks before the massacre, Dylann Roof had admitted to local police that he possessed drugs, something the FBI says should've disqualified him from buying a gun. But a background checker never saw that police record. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports. CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE:...

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET FBI Director James Comey said the man accused of killing nine people in a Charleston, S.C., church should never have been allowed to purchase a weapon. Comey said flaws in paperwork and communication between a federal background check worker and state law enforcement allowed Dylann Roof to buy a handgun in South Carolina on April 16 — weeks before he allegedly attacked black churchgoers in a failed attempt to fuel a race war. "We are all sick that...

FBI Director James Comey said authorities have arrested "more than 10 people" over the past four weeks who have been radicalized through slick electronic recruitment efforts tied to the self-proclaimed Islamic state. "We arrested them to try to thwart what they were up to," the FBI director said in a briefing with reporters Thursday in his Washington conference room. "I do believe our work disrupted efforts to kill people, likely related to the Fourth of July," Comey added. Not all of those...

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

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: The Supreme Court has also handed a victory to people who want to reduce political partisanship in the redistricting process. The maps for congressional districts have long been drawn by legislatures and rife with gerrymandering - districts artfully drawn to give the advantage to one party over the other. Well, now a divided court has accepted the alternative process one state has created, giving a...

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

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

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