Criminal Justice & Public Safety

The home for VPR's coverage of criminal justice and public safety issues across the state.

The Criminal Justice & Public Safety Team

Follow VPR reporters Liam Elder-Connors and Emily Corwin on Twitter for the latest on issues of criminal justice and public safety across the state. 
 

Explore our coverage by topic or chronologically by scrolling through the list below
Opioid Addiction | Guns | Marijuana | EB-5 | Vermont Supreme Court | Vermont Department Of Corrections

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Series & Specials

Death Behind Bars

After multiple reports of Vermont inmates who died of cancer after serving time in the state’s prison system, VPR investigated the limited transparency of health care provided to Vermont's inmate population. Explore the full series.

Gunshots: The role of guns in life — and death — in Vermont.

In Vermont, 420 people died from gunshot wounds between the beginning of 2011 and the end of 2016. VPR dug into the numbers to better understand Vermonters relationship with guns. Explore the full series and the 2017 update of the data.

Jack Sawyer in Vermont Superior Court.
Ryan Mercer / The Burlington Free Press via Associated Press, Pool File

Attorneys for Jack Sawyer, the Poultney man accused of plotting to attack his former high school in Fair Haven, have asked the court to grant Sawyer "youthful offender" status, something they say would better address the 18-year old’s case.  

Costello Courthouse in Burlington. Right now people have to file petitions with the court to expunge or seal past criminal convictions. Some attorneys think that process should happen automatically once a person becomes eligible.
Beyond My Ken / Wikimedia Commons

With recreational marijuana now legal in Vermont some people arrested for having pot are getting those crimes removed from their records.

But marijuana misdemeanors aren’t the only crimes people can get expunged. In fact, many crimes are eligible, and some attorneys say the process should be easier, or even automatic.

It’s been widely reported that three small Vermont towns issue about one-quarter of all speeding tickets in the state. And the resulting revenue is said to be used to boost town coffers.

Journalists are a little like doctors. Sometimes they have to give people bad news. The difference is there’s no arguing with a heart attack.

A court has ordered the attorney general's office to pay legal fees in a public records case. The records at issue included personal emails from former Attorney General Bill Sorrell.
Toby Talbot / AP

A Vermont judge has ordered the state attorney general’s office to pay almost $66,000 in legal fees in three cases where it was forced to comply with the state's public records law.

Prevention Works! VT is hoping to make marijuana a less desirable choice for youth in Vermont.
Jessica Hyde / istock

It's now legal to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana under Vermont law if you're over 21. The law, which was passed in January, took effect on Sunday.

A Rutland girl and her mother were seriously injured in a tour boat explosion in the Bahamas on Saturday.

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch stands looking at Justice Anthony Kennedy in April 2017.
Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

Vermont’s congressional delegation reacted with concern today over the announcement by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy that he will retire at the end of July.

An open laptop on a surface in a dark room.
dejankrsmanovic / iStock

Two Vermonters were indicted in federal court after being caught in an undercover Department of Justice operation focused on people selling drugs and weapons on the darkweb.

A close up of blue numeral buttons on a phone.
Andy Nowack / iStock

Vermont businesses are being warned of another round of phone scams by callers claiming to be from utility companies. The scammers tell you that you haven't paid your bill and give you a 1-800 number to straighten things out.

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

In a 5-4 ruling that gave broad leeway to presidential authority, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Trump's travel ban that barred nearly all travelers from five mainly Muslim countries as well as North Korea and Venezuela.

The president's proclamation was "squarely within the scope of Presidential authority under the INA," the court wrote in its majority opinion, referring to the Immigration and Nationality Act.

"A moment of profound vindication"

Racial disparities in traffic stops by Vermont State Police are improving, but there are still gaps between the rate at which white and black drivers are stopped and searched.

Vermont State Police announced Friday that 45 members of federal, state and local law enforcement, including members of the Montpelier and Barre City Police, participated in this week’s arrests.
deepblue4you / iStock.com

Twenty-five people were arrested for drug-related crimes in the Washington County area this week.

Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George, seen at a press conference Friday, will not file charges in a police shooting that took place in February.
Henry Epp / VPR

Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan announced Friday he will not bring criminal charges against two police officers who shot a man on the side of Interstate 89 in February.

The Vermont Supreme Court. The Vermont Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a man who left KKK recruitment flyers at the Burlington homes of two women of color. The court said the state failed to prove the action constituted an immediate threat.
John Dillon / VPR File

Last week, the court overturned the conviction of a man who put Ku Klux Klan flyers on the Burlington homes of two women of color. The court said the state didn’t prove the action met the threshold of ‘threatening behavior.’

iStock

The Vermont State Police say a young man took his own life after being stopped by a state trooper in Newbury, Vermont on Wednesday morning.

Vermont State Police

Vermont State Police say law enforcement officers arrested two Highgate residents wanted in connection with a body found over the weekend.

iStock

Vermont State Police continue to investigate the police shooting of a robbery suspect in Brattleboro Friday night.

Maj. Jamie Lewandowski is commander of Charlie Company, the division deploying to perform MEDEVAC operations in Southwest Asia and the Middle East. More than 60 members of the Vermont Air National Guard will depart for the mission in June.
Liam Elder-Connors / VPR

More than 60 members of the Vermont National Guard will deploy this June to Southwest Asia and the Middle East. Deployments typically last a year.

Jack Sawyer in Vermont Superior Court.
Ryan Mercer / The Burlington Free Press via Associated Press, Pool File

In February, Jack Sawyer was accused of a thwarted shooting plot involving Fair Haven Union High School. Already the case against the 18-year-old Poultney man has taken many twists and turns. We'll look at what has transpired so far in the case and how it's grabbed the attention of the entire state.

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