Shannon Heffernan | WBEZ
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Shannon Heffernan

Shannon Heffernan

Reporter

Shannon is a criminal justice reporter. She's also reported on mental health, poverty, labor and climate change. 

Her reporting has earned her a National Murrow Award for best writing and a PRINDI for best writing, as well as awards from the Illinois AP and Chicago Headline Club. 

Shannon also writes short fictional stories and has been published Hobart, The Indiana Review and The Columbia Review, where she won the 2016 prize for fiction.

She co-founded of Life of the Law, a podcast and multimedia website that tells surprising stories about all things legal.

Recent Stories

WBEZ News

IL Supreme Court Finds 40 Years Is Like Life Sentence For Kids

The court offers hope of earlier release for some people serving long sentences for crimes they committed as kids.

WBEZ News

Foxx Texts Show She Closely Followed Smollett Case After ‘Recusal’

In texts, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx expresses concern with heavy-handed charging of actor compared to other defendants accused of more serious crimes.

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Chicago IG: Police Gang Data Unreliable, Targets People Of Color

Gang-related information is shared with over 500 agencies, but there are not proper mechanisms to ensure accuracy.

WBEZ News

Family Suing After Alleged Prison Beating Death

According to coroners records, Larry Earvin died after an “altercation” with prison staff. He had 15 rib fractures and multiple hemorrhages.

WBEZ News

Police: Man Shot At First Hispanic He Saw

The Chicago Police Department is pursuing possible hate crime charges in shooting of off-duty officer, according to Superintendent Johnson.

WBEZ News

Jury Awards $5 Million To Family Alleging Police Planted Gun After Shooting

A jury sided with the family of a 37-year-old man who was shot to death by Chicago police in 2014.

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Mayoral Candidates Question Keeping Cop Who Wrongly Shot Teen

The candidates are expressing concern over the decision to keep a cop on the job after it was determined he wrongfully shot a disabled teen.

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Feds Indict Donor To Cook County Circuit Clerk Brown On Bribery, Conspiracy

Indictment alleges debt collection firm hired by Brown’s office showered her with campaign contributions.

WBEZ News

Advocates Troubled By 90-day Suspension Proposed For Cop Who Shot Teen

COPA found that Sgt. Khalil Muhammad’s shooting of Ricky Hayes was unjustified, but only recommended he be temporarily suspended.

WBEZ News

New Bill Would Force Transparency On How People Die In Prison

The IL DOC often doesn’t provide basic information to families or the public about deaths. Lawmakers may change that.

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Chicago Advocate: It’s Critical We ‘Look At All The R. Kellys’

The co-founder of a nonproft that addresses violence against women and girls says the city needs to examine how systems failed black girls.

WBEZ News

R. Kelly Back In Jail After Hearing Over Unpaid Child Support

The singer is back in custody. He was out on bail after charges that he sexually abused four people, including three underage girls.

WBEZ News

Former Chicago Cop On Trial For Faking Drug Raids To Enrich Himself

Former Chicago Police Sgt. Eddie Hicks spent over 14 years evading authorities. Now he faces federal drug and conspiracy charges in Chicago.

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R. Kelly Released On Bail

R. Kelly pleaded not guilty to all charges in his sexual abuse case during a court appearance Monday.

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Chicago Sends Police To 911 Mental Health Calls. What Could The City Do Instead?

Chicago police say they’re improving responses to mental health calls. But experts say most of these calls don’t even need police.

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Aurora Shooting Victims Include An Intern There For His First Day

Five people were killed while at work Friday afternoon before police fatally shot the 45-year-old gunman in the suburb west of Chicago.

WBEZ News

Felony Murder Law In Illinois Would Change Under Proposal

The new bill would reduce the number of people who can be charged with murder.

WBEZ News

Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton To Lead New Criminal Justice Initiative

The new initiative was created to address “root causes” of criminal justice problems, including equity and opportunity.

WBEZ News

Chicago Aldermen Reconsidering 2012 Mental Health Clinic Closures

A Chicago City Council committee forwards a plan to study which areas of the city need to have mental health clinics re-opened.

WBEZ News

Preckwinkle's Plan Includes Ending Gang Database

Preckwinkle's plan includes ending the gang database, creating a Mayor’s Office of criminal justice, and community oversight of police.

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