Radley Balko


Opinion columnist focusing on civil liberties, the drug war and the criminal justice system

Education: Indiana University, BA in journalism and political science

Radley Balko reports on criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties for The Washington Post. He was previously a senior writer and investigative reporter at the Huffington Post, and a reporter and senior editor for Reason magazine. He is author of the books "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces" and "The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South" (co-authored with Tucker Carrington). His work has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Mississippi Supreme Court and two federal appeals courts. He also occasio
Latest from Radley Balko

The pandemic might be producing juries that are more likely to convict

How the politics of covid-19 is leading to more law-and-order jurors.

December 3, 2021

The trials of Kyle Rittenhouse and Ahmaud Arbery’s killers embody a big problem with the justice system

As high-profile trials come and go, the machinery of injustice continues to churn.

November 29, 2021

Why prosecutors get away with misconduct

State bars and other authorities are more interested in keeping misconduct secret than putting an end to it.

November 18, 2021

Tom Cotton should put some legislation where his mouth is

The senator's arguments for qualified immunity aren’t new, and most are easily refuted.

November 10, 2021

The Supreme Court has abdicated its duty to the Bill of Rights

The justices declined to review an outrageous ruling from Denver involving the right to record police.

November 4, 2021

The ugly origins of qualified immunity

A pair of recent Supreme Court decisions will make it more difficult to hold police officials accountable for misdeeds.

October 26, 2021

Breonna Taylor’s death sparked remarkable changes to no-knock raids across America

The no-knock raid's only real legacy has been unnecessary death.

October 15, 2021

Another victim of America’s greatest forensics fraudster has been exonerated

The number of experts who can claim to have sent two innocent men to death row is pretty small. Michael West did it in a week.

October 8, 2021

An overlooked contributor to the rise in homicides: Fewer witnesses

People tend not to commit crimes when others are watching, and the pandemic meant far fewer eyes on the street.

September 30, 2021

‘Woke’ corporations are funding groups working to undermine criminal justice reform

Despite social-justice signaling after George Floyd's murder, big companies still fund two groups targeting judges with misleading 'soft on crime’ ads.

September 8, 2021