Miles Moffeit, a reporter for the Denver Post, has had his byline on much of the best stuff the broadsheet has published over the past several years, and folks are noticing. As detailed in this November 24 article, the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at New York City's John Jay College of Criminal Justice honored him and colleague Susan Greene with the 2007 Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting Award for "Trashing the Truth," a sprawling series documenting the failure of law enforcement agencies to safekeep DNA evidence in a slew of situations. These oversights, purposeful or not, could mean that some individuals who aren't guilty of crimes they were convicted of committing linger in stir with little way to prove their innocence.
In addition, Moffeit received another commendation for his efforts, albeit of the backhanded variety. In recent weeks, he was called on the carpet by officials for his reportage about a key piece of the "Trashing the Truth" puzzle -- the possibility that a Fort Collins teenager named Timothy Lee Masters didn't commit a 1987 murder for which he's serving a life sentence.
Moffeit has been all over the Masters case, following up his initial "Trashing the Truth" salvo, "Sketchy Evidence Raises Doubt," with offerings such as this November 16 update focusing on suggestions that Fort Collins police and prosecutors may not have provided Masters' attorneys with all the data they've requested. It's no surprise, then, that authorities requested a sitdown with Moffeit and Post editor Greg Moore to express their displeasure.
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Beyond confirming that this discussion took place, Moore, responding via BlackBerry, declines to provide any additional information, other than to suggest that such a session isn't all that unusual. "I meet with a lot of folks who have questions and concerns about stories," he writes. Nonetheless, the gathering speaks to the impact Moffeit is having every bit as loudly as does the recent plaudit handed to him and Greene. He may not have earned a $1,000 prize for the accomplishment, as he did in conjunction with the Criminal Justice Reporting Award, but it's still a compliment to his important and significant work. -- Michael Roberts