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

The Two-Way
12:08 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Rights Advocates See 'Access To Justice' Gap In U.S.

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 7:01 am

Too many poor people in the U.S. lack access to lawyers when they confront major life challenges, including eviction, deportation, custody battles and domestic violence, according to a new report by advocates at Columbia Law School's Human Rights Clinic.

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It's All Politics
4:29 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Senate Democrats Defect On Obama Civil Rights Nominee

Debo Adegbile, special counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, speaks with the media outside the Supreme Court in Feb. 2013 after presenting arguments in the Shelby County, Ala., v. Holder voting rights case.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 8:42 pm

In a stinging blow to the Obama administration, seven Senate Democrats joined with Republicans Wednesday to block one of the president's key civil rights nominees.

The 47 to 52 vote marked the first defeat of a Democratic nominee since lawmakers changed Senate rules to make it easier to push through judges and executive branch candidates. And it came after a clash that pit powerful law enforcement interests against the civil rights community.

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The Two-Way
9:44 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Solitary Confinement Costs $78K Per Inmate And Should Be Curbed, Critics Say

The U.S. holds more prisoners in solitary confinement than any other democratic country, according to critics of the treatment. Here, an immigrant detainee makes a call from his "segregation cell" at a detention facility in Adelanto, Calif., last November.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 7:43 am

Former prisoners spoke about the effects of solitary confinement Tuesday, in a congressional hearing aimed at banning the treatment for some inmates. The federal push to reduce solitary confinement is being led by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who calls it "a human rights issue we can't ignore."

Inmates who are held in solitary confinement spend 23 hours a day in small windowless cells, receiving their food on trays that are pushed through a slot in the cell's door.

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Politics
4:05 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Before Lawmakers, Former Inmates Tell Their Stories

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 8:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

Some members of Congress are calling for a more humane prison system. They're proposing a ban on solitary confinement for certain prisoners - among them, juveniles, pregnant women, and the mentally ill. Here's Illinois Democratic Senator Richard Durbin at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today.

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Around the Nation
5:05 am
Mon February 24, 2014

U.S. Authorities Want Mexico To Extradite 'El Chapo'

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 7:34 am

Joaquin Guzman remains the focus of intense law enforcement interest. The man who occupied a prominent place for years on the DEA's most-wanted list is still wanted to face trial in a U.S. courtroom.

Law
6:46 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

New York Backs Off Controversial Punishment For Juveniles

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 8:02 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The state of New York is taking a step toward a more humane prison system. Prison officials reached a landmark agreement today to limit the use of solitary confinement. The deal prohibits the use of extreme isolation to discipline under-age prisoners. It also offers new protections for pregnant women and for the disabled.

With us to talk about the deal is NPR's Carrie Johnson. Hi.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Hi, Robert.

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The Two-Way
7:39 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Justice Dept. Asks For Help Finding Prisoners Who Deserve Clemency

The second-in-command at the Justice Department met Tuesday with defense lawyers and interest groups to identify the cases of worthy prisoners who could qualify for clemency.

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National Security
5:09 am
Thu February 13, 2014

In Security Cases, Feds No Longer Get Benefit Of The Doubt

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 7:29 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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The Two-Way
12:18 pm
Sat February 8, 2014

Holder Orders Equal Treatment For Married Same-Sex Couples

John Lewis (left) and Stuart Gaffney embrace outside San Francisco's City Hall shortly before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California in June.
Noah Berger AP

Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 2:04 pm

Attorney General Eric Holder has for the first time directed Justice Department employees to give same-sex married couples "full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent under the law," a move with far-ranging consequences for how such couples are treated in federal courtrooms and proceedings.

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Law
5:44 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Obama Tries Going It Alone — And Moves Onto Murky Legal Ground

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 9:04 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

President Obama's plan to bypass roadblocks in Congress and govern through executive order isn't going over well on Capitol Hill. Republican lawmakers are demanding to see the legal justification for some of the president's decisions on healthcare and the minimum wage. NPR's Carrie Johnson has that story.

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Law
7:26 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Will Voters Or Courts Decide Virginia's Gay-Marriage Case?

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 8:20 am

The Virginia case is one of several that is barreling its way toward the Supreme Court. There have been debates on the gay-rights side over whether to move this issue forward in the political arena or use the court system.

The Two-Way
12:43 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Post-9/11 Panel Criticizes NSA Phone Data Collection

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 6:21 am

An independent panel created after the 9/11 attacks says bulk collection of billions of American phone records violates the letter and the spirit of the law.

The new report from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board undercuts the foundation of the National Security Agency's long-running phone metadata program, and suggests it conflicts with plain language in the Patriot Act and other laws on the books.

NPR obtained a copy of the report, which will be discussed and voted on Thursday at an open board meeting.

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Politics
6:20 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

5 Takeaways From The President's NSA Speech

President Barack Obama talks about National Security Agency surveillance Jan. 17 at the Justice Department in Washington. Seeking to calm a furor over U.S. surveillance, the president called for ending the government's control of phone data from hundreds of millions of Americans and immediately ordered intelligence agencies to get a secretive court's permission before accessing the records.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 7:21 pm

What does it mean when lawmakers as different as Colorado Democratic Senator Mark Udall and New York Republican Rep. Peter King offer praise for the president's long-awaited speech on surveillance reforms?

Mostly that resolution to the biggest controversies after leaks by NSA contractor Edward Snowden has been put off — or pushed to working groups in the executive branch and the lawmakers themselves.

Still, the president's NSA reforms speech Friday offered a revealing look into the nation's phone data collection program and the direction of the surveillance policy debate.

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National Security
5:17 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Congress Weighs In On NSA Overhaul Proposals

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:30 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

The National Security Agency faces pressure to reform. Congress is starting to consider what to do about an agency that still operates in great secrecy but has seen many of its operations exposed. In a moment we'll ask how much more we don't know. We start with lawmakers listening to a presidential commission pushing for change after the disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

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The Two-Way
9:33 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Lawyers Seek Justice Department Records On Would-Be Bomber

Lawyers for a young Portland man convicted of trying to blow up a Christmas tree ceremony are asking a judge to order the Justice Department to open its files and share "facts and circumstances" of electronic surveillance that prosecutors disclosed only months after his conviction.

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