Sam Hadaway stands on a Milwaukee overpass near where the body of Jessica Payne, 16, was discovered in 1995. Hadaway says he was pressured by police to plead to a lesser crime and falsely implicate Chaunte Ott in the teenager’s murder. Ott was later exonerated by DNA evidence. Hadaway is now filing a motion to undo his felony conviction.

When lies lead to wrongful convictions

“This case was essentially a case where it appeared to be going nowhere and the detectives in this case built this case out of absolutely nothing,” Mark Williams, a Milwaukee County assistant district attorney, said at trial. “They deserve the credit of the community for the job that they did.”

Sidebar: California case prompts policy reforms

Revelations from jailhouse informant Leslie Vernon White prompted a mass review of cases spanning an entire decade in which jailhouse testimony had been used to secure a criminal conviction. And it led Los Angeles County to adopt what one expert calls some “of the best jailhouse snitch protections in the country.”

Story impact: Lawmakers hold up funding for GPS tracking, call for study

A Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism report on problems regarding the use of GPS devices to monitor convicted offenders was a factor in the decision of state lawmakers to delay approval of some funding sought by the state Department of Corrections for program expansion, and seek a study on the program’s effectiveness.

“People are concerned with the accuracy of the GPS monitoring devices,” said state Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee, citing the Center’s report.


Lost signals, disconnected lives

Thirteen offenders told the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism that Wisconsin’s GPS tracking system repeatedly fails, registering false alerts and landing the offenders in jail although they had done nothing wrong. Meanwhile, Gov. Scott Walker is proposing an expansion of nearly 50 percent in the number of offenders monitored by GPS devices.

On July 31, 2012, James Morgan stands in his Madison bedroom with a Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism photographer. On several occasions, his GPS monitor begins flashing, indicating he is out of range, even though Morgan is well within boundaries determined by his parole agent. The Center spoke with a dozen offenders who said such issues as lost signals are landing them in jail repeatedly. Lukas Keapproth/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

GPS problems and solutions

How can Wisconsin’s electronic monitoring using GPS devices be made more reliable and effective? Suggestions drawn from interviews with experts.

Rural Slide: Audio slideshows

In the three-day Rural Slide series, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism explores rural population losses in three Wisconsin counties — and potential statewide solutions. Below, short profiles of some of the young people interviewed by the Center’s Lukas Keapproth and Mario Koran.