Dick Lehr


From June through December 2007, Dick Lehr was Visiting Journalist-in-Residence at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. Lehr continues to act as a consultant to the Justice Brandeis Innocence Project, helping to complete an ongoing investigation into a case of likely wrongful conviction.

While in residence at the Schuster Institute, he was writing "The Fence," a book about police brutality in Boston and the blue wall of silence (Harper, 2009).

Lehr is an award winning investigative reporter and a journalism professor at Boston University. In 2003, he co-founded an investigative reporting seminar, where BU students with advanced reporting and writing skills work on actual investigations with the aim of publication in Boston-area media. These stories about police lying and about a possible wrongful conviction have appeared in The Boston Globe, the Boston Phoenix, and Boston Magazine. A story about the wrongful conviction in a rape case from the 1980s was named the 2004 winner of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence Award for In-Depth Reporting (student division).

While a reporter for nearly two decades at the Boston Globe, Lehr won numerous regional and national awards, and was a 1997 Pulitzer Prize Finalist as a member of the Boston Globe Spotlight Team for its series, "The Disability Disaster," an expose of abuse of disability benefits by retired public employees, prompting reform of the Massachusetts pension system. In 2003, his investigation into the 1989 conviction of Shawn Drumgold for the murder of a 12-year-old Roxbury girl led to Drumgold’s release from a sentence of life without parole. Lehr uncovered a pattern of police witness intimidation, witness recantations, new alibi evidence. His stories in the Boston Globe led to court hearings to review his findings. Eventually, the Suffolk County District Attorney asked the court to release Drumgold “in the interests of justice.’’

In addition to "The Fence," Lehr is the co-author of three books, including "Black Mass," a book examining FBI’s corrupt ties to Boston gangster Whitey Bulger, which was a New York Times bestseller for three months, a Boston Globe bestseller for 48 consecutive weeks, and won the 2001 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime book of the year, given by the Mystery Writers of America. His other books are: "Judgment Ridge: The True Story Behind the Dartmouth Murders" (HarperCollins, 2003) and "The Underboss: The Rise and Fall of a Mafia Family" (St. Martin’s Press, 1988; reissued by PublicAffairs, 2001).

He is a 1976 graduate of Harvard College and a 1984 graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law. In 1991-92 he was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.