2014 Innocence Network Journalism Award - Radley Balko

The Innocence Network is thrilled to present Radley Balko with the 2014 Innocence Network Journalism Award for his revelatory work on the injustice that has resulted from two deeply flawed expert witnesses in Mississippi. In 2014, Radley published five lengthy articles that appeared on "The Watch" blog in The Washington Post. These pieces represent merely the latest in seven years of dogged reporting on the harm that these two individuals caused. In each instance, Radley has done a masterful job at distilling complicated legal issues and making a strong and compelling case for how and why the greater system has failed. 


Radley Balko is a 39-year-old writer and investigative reporter living in Nashville, Tennessee. Currently, he is a writer, reporter, and blogger who covers civil liberties and the criminal justice system for the Washington Post. Prior to that, he covered the same beat for theHuffington PostReason magazine, and as a policy analyst for the Cato Institute. He also writes about music and culture in Nashville.

Balko's work has been published in a wide array of outlets, from Playboy to the Wall Street Journal. His work has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court (Hudson v. Michigan), and cited and excerpted by the Mississippi State Supreme Court (Mississippi v. Edmonds). His reporting is credited with helping Mississippi murder convict Cory Maye get off of death row, and eventually released from prison. His reporting also lead to the termination of longtime Mississippi medical examiner Steven Hayne.

Balko’s 2009 feature on forensics fraud in a Louisiana murder case won the Western Publication Association’s “Maggie Award” for reporting, and in 2011 he was named the L.A. Press Club’s Journalist of the Year. His 2013 book Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces has received praise from numerous critics and media outlets, including the New Yorker, the EconomistPublishers WeeklyKirkus, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Journal of Books.

Balko is originally from Greenfield, Indiana. He graduated from Indiana University in 1997 with a BA in journalism and political science.