Radley Balko

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Radley Balko
Born (1975-04-19) April 19, 1975 (age 43)

Radley Balko (born April 19, 1975)[1] is an American journalist, author, blogger, and speaker who lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and writes about criminal justice, the drug war, and civil liberties for The Washington Post. Balko has written and published several books including The Rise of the Warrior Cop and The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist.

Personal life and education[edit]

Balko is an atheist.[2] He earned a B.A. in journalism and political science in 1997 from Indiana University.[3]

Employment and publications[edit]

Balko blogs about criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties for The Washington Post. Previously, he was a senior writer and investigative reporter for The Huffington Post,[4] a senior editor at Reason magazine, and a policy analyst for the Cato Institute, specializing in vice and civil liberties issues. He writes on drug policy, police misconduct, obesity, alcohol, tobacco, and civil liberties. He also writes on trade and globalization issues and more generally on politics and culture. He was also a biweekly columnist for Fox News from 2002 until 2009.[5] His work has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Playboy, TIME magazine, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, Reason, Worth magazine, Canada's National Post, and the Chicago Tribune. He blogs at The Agitator, his personal weblog, and for the Reason Hit and Run blog. He has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox News, MSNBC, and National Public Radio.[6] He began writing an opinion blog at The Washington Post in January 2014.[7]

Balko's work on "no-knock" drug raids was profiled in The New York Times, and cited by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in his dissent in Hudson v. Michigan. He is credited with breaking and reporting the Cory Maye case; his work on the Maye case was cited by the Mississippi Supreme Court. He has also written extensively about the Ryan Frederick case and the raid on Cheye Calvo's home.[8]

Balko has advocated the abolition of laws criminalizing drunk driving, arguing that the "punishable act should be violating road rules or causing an accident, not the factors that led to those offenses. Singling out alcohol impairment for extra punishment isn't about making the roads safer".[9]

Balko has also authored two books on the topic of increasing militarization in police forces:


  • Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America Washington : CATO Institute, 2006. OCLC 444618031
  • The Rise of the Warrior Cop New York : PublicAffairs, 2014. ISBN 9781610394574, OCLC 890576194
  • The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist New York, NY : PublicAffairs, 2018. ISBN 9781610396912, OCLC 965806090


In 2009, Balko's investigative report on expert witness fraud in a Louisiana death penalty case won the Western Publication Association's Maggie Award for reporting.[4]

In 2011, The Week named Balko a finalist for Opinion Columnist of the Year.[4] Also in 2011, the Los Angeles Press Club named Balko Best of Show Journalist of the Year, the judges saying:

Radley Balko is one of those throw-back journalists that understands the power of groundbreaking reporting and how to make a significant impact through his work. Time and time again, his stories cause readers to stop, think, and most significantly, take action.[13][14]


  1. ^ Grim, Ryan (24 October 2007). "BlogJam: Trying to avoid the fray". Politico.
  2. ^ Balko, Radley (June 24, 2013). "Time's Joe Klein Takes Obligatory, Inaccurate Cheap Shot At Nonbelievers". The Huffington Post.
  3. ^ "Radley Balko: Media Fellow". Cato Institute.
  4. ^ a b c Balko, Radley. "Radley Balko". The Huffington Post.
  5. ^ "Staff: Radley Balko". Reason Magazine. Retrieved 2009-11-17.
  6. ^ Balko, Radley. "Personal Resume". Retrieved 2008-10-04.
  7. ^ Beaujon, Andrew (December 4, 2013). "Radley Balko will join Washington Post". The Poynter Institute for Media Studies.
  8. ^ Balko, Radley (September 20, 2009). "Cheye Calvo in the Washington Post". The Agitator.
  9. ^ Balko, Radley (October 11, 2010). "Abolish Drunk Driving Laws". Reason.
  10. ^ Balko, Radley (Fall 2017). "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces". Independent Institute.
  11. ^ Balko, Radley. "Amazon.com radley balko: Books". Amazon.com. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
  12. ^ Stossel, John. "Beware Warrior Cops". Newsmax. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
  13. ^ "53rd Journalism Awards Gala, June 26". Los Angeles Press Club. 2011. Reason Magazine's Radley Balko, who was Print Journalist of the Year (circulation under 50,000) was named Best of Show Journalist of the Year and received $1,000.
  14. ^ Welch, Matt (June 28, 2011). "Radley Balko Named "Journalist of the Year," Reason Wins Three Other First Place Prizes at the Southern California Journalism Awards". Bastiat Institute. Archived from the original on January 18, 2012.

External links[edit]