We are on Day 5 of Reason's annual webathon, in which we ask those of you who value our journalism and commentary in the name of "Free Minds and Free Markets" to dig a little deeper into the ol' blockchain and help us bring you another damn half-century of this stuff. By giving your tax-free donation, you may literally be helping save people's lives.
One month ago, Reason co-awarded its annual Bastiat Prize for Journalism to the great Washington Post criminal justice reporter Radley Balko (read his terrific and challenging acceptance speech here). Balko in my opinion has created a whole new category of libertarians—people who first hone their skepticism of government by reacting in revulsion to how the state's monopoly on violence is so frequently misused, particularly on vulnerable populations. I meet such "Radley Balko libertarians" everywhere I go.
Balko worked for Reason from 2006 to 2011, winning one Greater Los Angeles Press Club "Journalist of the Year" award along the way, and helping introduce the country to such commonplace outrages as no-knock raids, civil asset forfeiture, cop-on-dog violence, bogus forensic science (and outright fraud), and abuses of prosecutorial immunity. The broader journalism world may have woken up to the "militarization of police" after the 2014 events in Ferguson, Missouri; Radley first wrote about the concept for Reason back in October 2006.
I remember being worried after Balko left us that a compelling (if infuriating) beat would now go inadequately covered; that helping deliver justice to the unfairly punished was a one-off. Turns out I underestimated not just how much influence he had on the next generation of libertarian journalists coming up, but also the constant demand (and barrage of helpful story tips) from you people, our core audience.
This year C.J. Ciaramella conducted an extensive analysis of how Cook County cops were using civil asset forfeiture, resulting in the article: "Poor Neighborhoods Hit Hardest by Asset Forfeiture in Chicago, Data Shows: Here's a map of 23,000 times over the past five years that police in Cook County seized property and cash." This helped lead directly to the state legislature passing civil-asset forfeiture reform just two weeks later. Ciaramella's work "was cited by Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx in a letter to the Chicago Tribune…urging Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign the bill into law."
Ciaramella this year won also Best Web Article by the Western Publishing Association and third-place for Best Public Service News or Feature from the L.A. Press Club for his remarkable piece "Why Are Detroit Cops Killing So Many Dogs? A Reason investigation reveals widespread, unchecked violence against pets during drug raids—including two officers who have shot more than 100." Ciaramella's article, which he has updated thrice (1, 2, 3), was editorialized about by the Detroit News, reprinted in the Metro News, cited heavily in The Atlantic, and picked up by Fox News.
Thanks in part to the public attention generated by Reason's previous reporting on the case, Austin's mother was able to raise enough money to hire a lawyer who specializes in these kinds of cases. That lawyer, Robin Shellow, negotiated a plea deal that would prevent Austin from having to register as a sex offender or spend any additional time in jail.
This might not have been possible without the involvement of the DKT Liberty Project, an advocacy organization that promotes individual liberty. After learning about Austin's situation in the pages of Reason, the DKT Liberty Project agreed to pay his attorney's fees.
Again, your donations are helping us positively impact the lives of the unjustly prosecuted. Wouldn't you please donate to Reason today?
Soave's endless blog posts on collegiate sexual-assault injustice was so influential that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos referred to whole mess of 'em when announcing changes to the underlying Title IX rules that helped turn campus inquests into kangaroo courts.
Reason is here to explain in depth "Why It's So Hard to Stop Bad Cops From Getting New Police Jobs" (an article that won another 2017 L.A. Press Club Award, for Best Political/Government Reporting), to analyze how the retrograde Attorney General Jeff Sessions will have such a tough time implementing his heart's dark desires, and of course to document such workaday outrages as "Texas Cops Spent 11 Minutes Searching a Woman's Vagina, Found No Drugs." Monitoring the state's most lethal uses of power, and covering the ongoing efforts to reform the incentives and practices leading to the worst abuses, is and will always be a core Reason beat.