The Scam Albany Won’t Fix <br /> (<b><i>Village Voice</i></b> Cover Story)

The Scam Albany Won’t Fix
(Village Voice Cover Story)

Posted by on Aug 31, 2017 in Investigative/Enterprise, Longform

On a summer day in 2014, Stella So was engrossed in her Korean-language soaps when she heard a knock on her door in Flushing, Queens. She answered it to find a clean-cut young man with a Con Edison badge and a clipboard. She’d been paying too much for her electricity, the man told her, and […]

How a 50s-era Knife Law Sent Thousands of New Yorkers to Jail <br /> (<b><i>Village Voice</i></b> Cover Story)

How a 50s-era Knife Law Sent Thousands of New Yorkers to Jail
(Village Voice Cover Story)

Posted by on Aug 30, 2017 in Investigative/Enterprise, Longform

How a ‘50s-era New York Knife Law Landed Thousands in Jail, Padded Stop and Frisk Numbers, and Brought Right and Left Together   In retrospect, Richard Neal knows he should have just gone home. It was already nearly 4 a.m. on a sticky June night in 2008, and the LaGuardia Houses on the Lower East […]

NYPD Opened Fire on an Unarmed, Mentally Ill Man. Then they Tried to Send Him to Prison <br /> (<b><i>Village Voice</i></b> Cover Story)

NYPD Opened Fire on an Unarmed, Mentally Ill Man. Then they Tried to Send Him to Prison
(Village Voice Cover Story)

Posted by on Aug 29, 2017 in Investigative/Enterprise, Longform

The night of September 14, 2013, began about as unremarkably as it could for Sahar Khoshakhlagh. She had some family in town — two cousins from overseas — and they had unremarkable plans. Dinner at the National near Times Square, catch a movie. A girls’ night out. Around 9 p.m., the Saturday-night crush of humanity […]

Looking for Leatherman <br /> (<b><i>Village Voice</i></b> Cover Story)

Looking for Leatherman
(Village Voice Cover Story)

Posted by on Jun 16, 2015 in History, Longform

The Sparta Cemetery in Ossining, New York, at the crest of an undulating ridge overlooking the Hudson River, is old enough that many of the marble headstones have been weathered smooth. Most bear dates before 1900. Some have fallen flat against the earth. Others have been swallowed whole by gnarled shrubs or split clean in […]

Mule: Adventures in the Illicit Tobacco Trade <br /> (<b><i>Village Voice</i></b> Cover Story)

Mule: Adventures in the Illicit Tobacco Trade
(Village Voice Cover Story)

Posted by on Apr 7, 2015 in Investigative/Enterprise, Longform

As six armed officers pour out of two unmarked Ford Explorers on a Long Island City street corner, you can see the confusion on the faces of gawkers and passersby. One woman looks up from her phone and does a sitcom-worthy double-take when she notices their windbreakers, embossed with the word “SHERIFF” in big gold […]

The Defense Never Rests<br /> (<b><i>Village Voice</i></b> Cover Story)

The Defense Never Rests
(Village Voice Cover Story)

Posted by on Jan 6, 2015 in Longform, Profile

Mid October, 2014. Stanley Cohen abruptly stops responding to voicemails. When you dial his cell, you hear the telltale sound of an overseas phone call, followed by a hold message in Arabic. Cohen is known to friends and foes alike as an eccentric of the highest order, a foul-mouthed criminal-defense attorney with unruly gray hair, […]

First There is a Mountain (from <em>The Big Roundtable</em>)

First There is a Mountain (from The Big Roundtable)

Posted by on Jan 4, 2015 in Longform

Leonard Knight spent the better part of the 1970s in Nebraska, living in a trailer by the Platte River and trying to build a hot-air balloon. This is remarkable because Leonard Knight had no idea how to build a hot-air balloon. The thing was 100 feet wide and powered by firewood. And stitched together, as […]

Faking It<br /> (<em><b>Village Voice</b></em> Cover Story)<br />

Faking It
(Village Voice Cover Story)

Posted by on Dec 23, 2014 in Longform

When you consider how many things can go wrong at a metal foundry, it’s a miracle that anything comes out right. The range of potential catastrophes is almost infinite. Molds crack, wax shatters; molten bronze does strange things at 1,700 degrees. But a great many things came out right at Long Island City’s Empire Bronze […]

‘I Was Choked by the NYPD’ <br />(<b><i>Village Voice</i></b> Cover Story)

‘I Was Choked by the NYPD’
(Village Voice Cover Story)

Posted by on Sep 23, 2014 in Investigative/Enterprise, Longform

New York’s Chokehold Problem Isn’t Going Away As far as Angel Martinez was concerned, the police officer at the front desk that night wasn’t much more than an inconvenience. Sure, he’d refused to take Martinez’s complaint. He was even a little rude about it. But for Martinez, after a night in Queens central booking, with […]

LAPD Spied on 21 Using StingRay Anti-Terrorism Tool
(from L.A. Weekly)

Posted by on Dec 22, 2013 in Investigative/Enterprise

A secretive cellphone spy device known as StingRay, intended to fight terrorism, was used in far more routine LAPD criminal investigations 21 times in a four-month period during 2012, apparently without the courts’ knowledge that the technology probes the lives of non-suspects who happen to be in the same neighborhood as suspected terrorists. This is […]

License Plate Recognition Logs Our Lives Long Before We Sin <br />(from <b><i>L.A. Weekly</i></b>)

License Plate Recognition Logs Our Lives Long Before We Sin
(from L.A. Weekly)

Posted by on Dec 19, 2013 in Investigative/Enterprise

The Long Beach Police Department press release in August 2010 was tellingly brief — just 121 words. Franklin Robles, 33, had been shot to death on his way to buy a used Cadillac, a possible robbery attempt turned bloody. There was no suspect, no eyewitness. Investigators had little to go on — or so it […]

Deported Veterans in Rosarito, Mexico <br />(from <b><i>San Diego CityBeat</i></b>)

Deported Veterans in Rosarito, Mexico
(from San Diego CityBeat)

Posted by on Mar 19, 2013 in Investigative/Enterprise

  When I tell the receptionist at VFW headquarters why I’m calling, she isn’t sure she’s heard me correctly. “Deported veterans?” she says.  “Yes, ma’am.”  There’s a pause. “Huh.”  Even at an organization like the VFW, even in a military town like San Diego, the news that former soldiers, sailors and marines are among the […]

Unemployed Reporter Porter

Unemployed Reporter Porter

Posted by on Feb 3, 2013 in Recent Work

I’ve been brewing beer lately in my free time, entertaining myself by making some very elaborate labels.   I sent some pictures to a former colleague a few days ago and all of a sudden, it’s gone sorta viral, as the kids say, and people are asking about my beer. http://jimromenesko.com/2013/02/05/lots-of-buzz-for-unemployed-reporter-beer/ http://www.grubstreet.com/2013/02/unemployed-reporter-porter.html http://www.mediabistro.com/mediajobsdaily/laid-off-journalist-brews-unemployed-reporter-porter_b13637 Unfortunately, production […]

San Diego’s Licence Plate Reader System<br />(from <b><i>San Diego CityBeat</i></b>)

San Diego’s Licence Plate Reader System
(from San Diego CityBeat)

Posted by on Feb 2, 2013 in Investigative/Enterprise

License-plate Recognition Has Its Eyes on You Credit: Adam Vieyra I was on San Diego’s PBS affiliate KPBS yesterday, discussing  my recent piece for San Diego City Beat about the license plate reader system in San Diego County. Check out the TV segment below, it’s about 5 minutes long. I also had a chance to […]

James Bopp Jr. Gets Creative
(from Slate)

Posted by on Dec 20, 2012 in Investigative/Enterprise

The conservative lawyer James Bopp Jr. has done as much as anyone to clear the way for the flood of money pouring into this year’s election. As James Bennet tells us in his excellent Atlantic piece, Bopp is the legal mind behind the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and another influential 2007 ruling, which together […]

Big Brother is in Your Car
(from Salon)

Posted by on Sep 18, 2012 in Investigative/Enterprise

If you’re traveling on public roadways in 2012, there’s a very good chance you’re being watched, by one government agency or another. License plate readers (LPRs) are proliferating at a rapid clip, and they’re being used by law enforcement at virtually every level of government. Once used mostly by local cops to catch car thieves […]

LAPD Spy Device Taps Your Cell Phone
(from L.A. Weekly)

Posted by on Sep 13, 2012 in Investigative/Enterprise

When you consider the scoundrels the FBI chases down every year — terrorists and serial killers and badass drug kingpins — David Rigmaiden has to be one of the dullest on the list. He’s currently in federal custody in Arizona, charged in a long-running scam that netted millions from bogus tax returns. Still, the Rigmaiden […]