News Release

Nation's Criminal Defense Bar Presents Carrie Johnson with its Champion of Justice Journalism Award

Washington, DC (Oct. 12, 2021) – On Thursday, October 7, 2021, at the 20th Anniversary Gala of the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) presented NPR National Justice Correspondent Carrie Johnson with its Champion of Justice Journalism Award.

NACDL's Champion of Justice Awards are bestowed upon those individuals who—through legislative, journalistic, philanthropic, or humanitarian pursuits—have staunchly preserved or defended the constitutional rights of American citizens and have endeavored to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime. Past recipients of the journalism award include the late Anthony Lewis, author of Gideon's Trumpet and columnist at the New York Times; Juju Chang of ABC News, Steve Kroft from CBS's 60 Minutes; and the legendary Molly Ivins, among others.

“Throughout her career, Carrie Johnson has been a true leader in the practice and profession of Journalism,” said NACDL Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications Ivan J. Dominguez, who presented the award to Johnson on behalf of NACDL. “She has been a driving force for transparency and accountability as respects the American criminal legal system. We know that some of the greatest obstacles to the reform NACDL seeks are the demagoguery and disinformation emanating from far too many that serve only to protect the nation’s broken and, yes, systemically racist criminal legal system. There is no hope for reform without journalists like Carrie Johnson who consistently get and report the truth. In sum, Carrie Johnson embodies what it means to be a Champion of Justice.”

“It’s never been more important to dig for the facts, to ask tough questions of authority, and to give a voice, and a microphone, to people who too seldom have a voice in the justice system, the justice-involved people in the system,” said NPR National Justice Correspondent Carrie Johnson.

Johnson has covered a wide variety of stories about justice issues, law enforcement, and legal affairs for NPR’s flagship programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as the newscasts and Prior to coming to NPR in 2010, Johnson worked at the Washington Post for 10 years, where she closely observed the FBI, the Justice Department, and criminal trials of the former leaders of Enron, HealthSouth, and Tyco. Earlier in her career, she wrote about courts for the weekly publication Legal Times.

Johnson, a Class of 2020 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, has also been honored with awards from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, the Society for Professional Journalists, SABEW, and the National Juvenile Defender Center. She has been a finalist for the Loeb Award for financial journalism and the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news for team coverage of the massacre at Fort Hood, Texas.


Ivan Dominguez, NACDL Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications, (202) 465-7662 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.

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