About Radley Balko


Radley Balko is a 40-year-old investigative reporter living in Nashville, Tennessee. Currently, he runs The Watch, a Washington Post blog that features original reporting and commentary on civil liberties and the criminal justice system.

Prior to that, Balko covered the same beat for theHuffington Post, Reason magazine, and as a policy analyst for the Cato Institute. He also writes about music and culture in Nashville.

Balko has been published in a variety of places, from Playboy to the Wall Street Journal. He has twice testified before Congress. His work has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court (Hudson v. Michigan), and cited and excerpted by the Mississippi State Supreme Court (Mississippi v. Edmonds). His reporting has been credited with helping Mississippi murder convict Cory Maye get off of death row, and eventually released from prison. His reporting also helped lead to the termination of longtime Mississippi medical examiner Steven Hayne.

Balko’s 2009 feature on forensics fraud in a Louisiana murder case won the Western Publication Association’s “Maggie Award” for reporting. In 2011 he was named the L.A. Press Club’s Journalist of the Year. And in 2015 he won the Innocence Project’s Journalism Award for his coverage of forensic misconduct.

His 2013 book Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces has received praise from numerous critics, pundits and media outlets, including the New Yorker, the Economist, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Journal of Books.

Balko is originally from Greenfield, Indiana. He graduated from Indiana University in 1997 with a BA in journalism and political science. He is a music buff, an amateur photographer, and an admitted “dog person.”