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.

Pages

It's All Politics
6:15 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Would Federal Involvement Actually Change Policing?

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. testified before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Policing Strategies for the 21st Century Tuesday.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 7:06 pm

David Clarke, the sheriff in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin doesn't think federal involvement in policing is going to change much. His reaction to the new White House report on 21st century policing, and what he told the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday, is that it's "heavy on federal involvement, federal control" but "it's not going to change the behavior of many law enforcement agencies or the behavior of many of the individuals of color that we come in contact with on the street that end up in deadly confrontations."

Read more
It's All Politics
5:52 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

After Baltimore And Ferguson, Major Momentum For Criminal Justice System Reform

Demonstrators participated in a March2Justice for criminal justice reform legislation outside the Capitol in April. Lawmakers who are working to on fixes to the justice system say recent unrest is pushing them to act.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 16, 2015 7:46 pm

Lawmakers working on fixes to the justice system say that unrest in places like Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore is pushing them to act.

"The whole idea of a young man dying in police custody, the confrontations with police, the looting and burning of innocent minority owned businesses," Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said on the Senate floor this month. "The question arises, what can we do?"

Read more
It's All Politics
5:07 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Court Throws Out Nun's Sabotage Conviction For Nuclear Site Break-In

Anti-nuclear activists Gregory Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice and Michael Walli in Knoxville, Tenn., in 2013.
Linda Davidson The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 9:51 pm

From the moment she was taken into custody in 2012, outside a building that stores enriched uranium in Oak Ridge, Tenn., Sister Megan Rice has argued she has been driven by one thing — a desire to spread a message.

"And we all know that nuclear energy is linked inextricably with nuclear weapons," Rice told a group of activists in remarks captured on YouTube.

Prosecutors accused her of violating the Sabotage Act, intending to hurt the government's ability to wage war or defend itself.

Read more
It's All Politics
1:56 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

Reagan Shooter John Hinckley's Lawyers Say He's Ready To Be Free

John Hinckley currently enjoys 17-day visits to his mother's home in Williamsburg, Va., every month. Prosecutors voiced concern over what would happen when his 89-year-old mother dies.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 4:34 pm

A lawyer for John Hinckley told a federal judge Tuesday that it's time to grant the thwarted presidential assassin the power to leave a psychiatric hospital and live full time with his elderly mother in Virginia.

"Every witness agrees that he's ready and every witness agrees that the risk of danger is decidedly low," lawyer Barry William Levine argued.

Read more
It's All Politics
4:15 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

Justice Dept. Hopes Investigation Will Create A 'Stronger' Baltimore

Attorney General Loretta Lynch, seen here with Baltimore police Commissioner Anthony Batts, met Tuesday with the city's police officers, faith leaders and the family of Freddie Gray.
Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 10:38 pm

The new U.S. attorney general said she watched the scenes of riots on the streets of Baltimore last week, her first day in office as the country's top law enforcement officer.

"I would have to say that my first reaction was profound sadness, it truly was," Loretta Lynch said.

But after meeting with community leaders and clergy Tuesday, and hearing their frustration over the death of a 25-year-old man who suffered a spinal injury in police custody, Lynch said her sadness hardened into resolve.

Read more
The Two-Way
10:34 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

Baltimore Police Will Be Target Of Broad Justice Department Inquiry

Attorney General Loretta Lynch prepares to testify Thursday at a budget hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 11:12 pm

Two federal sources tell NPR that the Justice Department is preparing to launch a broad investigation into possible discriminatory policing in Baltimore.

The officials spoke anonymously because no formal announcement has been made, though the Associated Press says that could come as soon as Friday. The probe follows a request from city leaders and members of Congress.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:33 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

FBI Says It Sent Bulletin On Texas Assailant Hours Before Attack

FBI Director James B. Comey takes a question during a news conference in March. Comey says the FBI issued a bulletin to local law enforcement about one of the Garland, Texas, assailants three hours before the attack.
Joshua Roberts Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 6:01 pm

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

FBI Director James Comey says the bureau issued a bulletin on one of the two assailants at a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, just three hours before the attack earlier this week.

Comey told reporters Thursday that the FBI had sent an Intel Bulletin to local law enforcement with a photo of Elton Simpson, his license plate number and other information without stating directly that he was heading to Garland.

Read more
It's All Politics
4:29 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

New Public-Corruption Chief Vows To Not Shy Away

The U.S. Department of Justice building in Washington, DC.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 7, 2015 6:16 pm

Veteran prosecutor Raymond Hulser has been promoted to lead the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section, the unit that goes after corrupt public officials including lawmakers, judges and military contractors.

Read more
Law
6:02 am
Wed May 6, 2015

On Her First Official Trip As Attorney General, Lynch Goes To Baltimore

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 2:07 pm

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

Around the Nation
4:31 pm
Tue May 5, 2015

Attorney General Loretta Lynch Visits Baltimore

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 7:32 pm

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

Law
7:59 am
Sat May 2, 2015

Georgia Settles Case Alleging Assembly-Line Justice For Children

Originally published on Sat May 2, 2015 10:26 am

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

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Read more
It's All Politics
3:27 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Can't Get A Job Because Of A Criminal Record? A Lawsuit Is Trying To Change That

Tyrone Peake says he's been fired from three jobs because a crime he committed more than 30 years ago is still on his record.
Carrie Johnson NPR

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 8:19 pm

Outside an apartment building on Broad Street, along the county line in Philadelphia, birds outnumber the rush-hour traffic.

"It's nice and quiet compared to other neighborhoods which I lived in," said Tyrone Peake, 52.

In 1981, when he was just 18, Peake was arrested with a friend for trying to steal a car to take a girl home after a long weekend.

"No, we never got the car," Peake said. "We broke the ignition column and then the cops came."

Read more
U.S.
5:27 pm
Sat April 25, 2015

Behind The Scenes At Eric Holder's Last Day At The Justice Department

Originally published on Sat April 25, 2015 10:39 pm

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

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Read more
It's All Politics
5:03 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

With Tears And Thanks, Attorney General Eric Holder Says Goodbye

Eric Holder said goodbye to Justice Department employees Friday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 12:11 pm

"Hey," the attorney general said as he walked into his final meeting with senior staffers Friday morning. "Let's do this one last time."

After more than six years running the Justice Department, Eric Holder took a seat at his polished wooden table and prepared to close the door on an institution where he'd spent countless hours since September 1976.

Read more
It's All Politics
4:40 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Young Trafficking Victim's Story On NPR Leads To Senator's Amendment

"I never thought that my story would have touched somebody so much that they went in front of Congress to present a bill," the young woman, whom NPR is not naming, said of Shaheen. "There's a lot of voices out there that can't tell her thank you."
Evie Stone NPR

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 6:55 pm

Hearing the words of a 24-year-old victim of human trafficking — and her struggle to wipe away her conviction on prostitution charges — inspired New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

That young victim, who was featured in an NPR story in February, endured years of rapes and brutal assaults by pimps who forced her into prostitution.

"I'm not ever going to forget what I've done or what I've gone through. But at the same time, I don't want it thrown in my face every time I'm trying to seek employment," she said. "I don't want to have to explain myself every time."

Read more
Politics
4:56 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

5 Months Later, Senate Confirms Loretta Lynch As Attorney General

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 7:03 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Read more
It's All Politics
1:58 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

Senate Confirms Loretta Lynch As Attorney General

Loretta Lynch testifies during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in January 2015.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 2:23 pm

The Senate voted Thursday, 56-43, to approve the nomination of Loretta Lynch to serve as U.S. attorney general, ending a more than five month-long political impasse that had stalled her bid to become the first black woman to lead the Justice Department.

Lynch, 55, grew up in the shadow of the civil rights movement in North Carolina, where her family had preached for generations. Most recently, she prosecuted terrorists, mobsters and white collar criminals as the top federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, a district that covers 8 million people.

Read more
It's All Politics
4:48 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

Man Who Shot Reagan Seeks Release From Mental Hospital

John Hinckley Jr. arrives at U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., in 2003 to seek five-day, unsupervised visits with his parents at their home in Virginia. His current hearing is the seventh time a court has weighed gradually opening the door to Hinckley's freedom.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 7:59 pm

The man who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981 is making a new push for freedom.

John Hinckley Jr. was found not guilty by reason of insanity and confined to a mental institution for shooting the president, Press Secretary James Brady and two law enforcement officers. Now he's asking a federal judge to allow him to live full time with his mother in Virginia.

Read more
Law
5:37 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

DEA Chief Michele Leonhart To Retire

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 7:10 pm

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

Law
3:38 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Former FBI Agent Speaks Out: 'I Was Not Protected'

FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun May 3, 2015 8:17 pm

Robyn Gritz spent 16 years at the FBI, where she investigated a series of major national security threats. But she says she got crosswise with her supervisors, who pushed her out and yanked her security clearance.

For the first time, she's speaking out about her situation, warning about how the bureau treats women and the effects of a decade of fighting terrorism.

Read more

Pages