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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Law
11:48 am
Fri June 26, 2015

Breaking Down A Legal Landmark: The Justices' Opinions In Obergefell V. Hodges

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

It's All Politics
2:34 pm
Mon June 22, 2015

Released From Prison, Nuclear Protest Nun Now Likely To Stay Free

A sign warns against trespassing onto the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Sister Megan Rice and two other anti-war protesters cut through three fences and spray-painted slogans on the wall of a weapons-grade uranium facility in 2012.
Erik Schelzig AP

Originally published on Mon June 22, 2015 3:29 pm

Federal prosecutors in Tennessee have notified an 85-year-old nun they will not seek to reinstate her sabotage conviction for breaking into a nuclear facility.

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It's All Politics
12:28 pm
Fri June 19, 2015

Settlement Reached To Overhaul Mississippi Juvenile Courts

The Department of Justice headquarters building in Washington.
J. David Ake AP

Originally published on Fri June 19, 2015 5:36 pm

The U.S. Justice Department has reached a settlement with the state of Mississippi to overhaul the way young people are arrested and processed through the juvenile courts, NPR has learned.

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It's All Politics
5:02 am
Thu June 11, 2015

Experiencing The 'Realities Of Being A Police Officer'

NPR reporter Carrie Johnson runs through a target practice drill with instructor Bryan Patterson as part of the Use of Force simulation at the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund in Virginia.
Ariel Zambelich NPR

Originally published on Thu June 11, 2015 1:42 pm

The office hallway could be in Anytown, America, with its gray walls, bad lighting and piles of photocopy paper. That is, except for this distinguishing feature: an unknown man, armed with a weapon, who popped into view.

"Do I want to shoot this guy?" I asked the law enforcement trainer beside me.

The reply came fast: "Well, he's got a gun."

My weapon: a Glock equipped with a laser, not live ammunition — and thank goodness for that.

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It's All Politics
4:10 pm
Tue June 9, 2015

Advocates Push To Bring Solitary Confinement Out Of The Shadows

A guard looks over an empty inmate cell at the Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, Conn., in 2001.
Steve Miller AP

Originally published on Thu June 11, 2015 9:53 am

By last count, the Justice Department estimates about 80,000 U.S. inmates live in some kind of restricted housing.

That means being confined to a cell for about 22 hours a day.

"You are going to eat, sleep and defecate in a small room that's actually smaller than the size of your average parking space," said Amy Fettig, a lawyer who runs the Stop Solitary campaign for the American Civil Liberties Union. "And you're going to do that for months, years and sometimes even decades on end."

Fettig said solitary confinement is brutal and expensive.

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U.S.
2:59 pm
Sat June 6, 2015

Jury Acquits Ex-BP Exec Of Lying In Oil Spill

David Rainey, second from right, leaves Federal Court after being arraigned on obstruction of a federal investigation in New Orleans in 2012. Rainey was acquitted Friday.
Matthew Hinton AP

Originally published on Mon June 8, 2015 10:57 am

More than two years ago, Justice Department officials held a news conference to unveil criminal charges against BP and several executives in connection with the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

But the Department of Justice task force created to hold the company and responsible individuals to account has a track record that's spotty at best.

On Friday, a federal jury in New Orleans acquitted the highest-ranking BP executive charged in connection with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, after just five days of trial.

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The Two-Way
10:00 am
Wed June 3, 2015

Sen. Menendez's Corruption Trial Hasn't Begun, But Legal Sparring Has

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., (right) speaks alongside his lawyer, Abbe Lowell, after being indicted on corruption charges in April.
Kena Betancur Getty Images

It's been just two months since the Justice Department indicted Sen. Robert Menendez on bribery and conspiracy charges. But lawyers in the case already seem to be, well, getting under each other's skin.

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It's All Politics
5:32 pm
Mon June 1, 2015

Supreme Court Sides With Immigrant Caught With Pills In His Sock

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who wrote for the court majority, said Moones Mellouli's crime should not be considered enough to remove someone from the country under federal law. In dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote he sees "nothing absurd about removing individuals who are unwilling to respect the drug laws" where they live.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 1, 2015 10:46 pm

The Supreme Court has dealt a blow to U.S. immigration officials in a closely watched case by ruling that a broad state anti-drug law may not be enough to justify deportation.

By a 7-2 vote, the court ruled that a Tunisian man convicted of carrying pills in his sock should not have been removed from the U.S. for that reason.

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Law
3:37 am
Mon June 1, 2015

No. 2 At Justice Warns Growing Prison Budget Detracts From Public Safety

Deputy Attorney General nominee Sally Yates testified in March before the Senate Judiciary Committee on her nomination. The Senate confirmed her last month to be deputy attorney general, putting two women in the top posts at the Justice Department.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Mon June 1, 2015 3:49 pm

Prosecutors usually spend their energy putting criminals behind bars, not urging their release. But racial disparities in the system and the huge costs of locking up so many people are pushing some government officials to call for a new approach.

One of them is the woman who now runs day-to-day operations at the Justice Department. Sally Yates says she's hardly soft on crime: "I'm a career prosecutor."

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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.

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