Maurice Possley is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author who has written about, investigated and consulted on issues involving criminal justice in the United States and abroad for more than 30 years.
A 1972 graduate of Loyola University in Chicago, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communications, Maurice’s baptism into journalism — and the world of crime, courts and justice — was at the legendary City News Bureau in Chicago. After several years there in the 1970s, he moved on briefly to the Rock Island Argus in western Illinois before returning to Chicago and joining the staff of the Chicago Sun-Times and then, in 1984, the Chicago Tribune. Maurice left the Tribune in August 2008 and began pursuing his investigative work into prosecutorial misconduct, wrongful convictions and other criminal justice issues in the private sector as a writer and consultant.
He has been a consultant on a number of television and film projects over the years, including the award-winning documentary At The Death House Door by filmmakers Steve James and Peter Gilbert (they of Hoop Dreams fame), the feature-length 2004 documentary Deadline, television programs including Dateline, 60 Minutes, Bill Kurtis’ American Justice on A&E, as well a numerous writing, academic and investigative projects, some of which are still ongoing.
During his nearly-25-year tenure at the Tribune, Maurice worked as a federal courts reporter and then as a deputy metropolitan editor, where he managed a staff of more than 75 reporters and editors. Later he returned to his first love — reporting — as an investigative reporter specializing in criminal justice, where he covered a variety of high-profile criminal cases, including those of Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, and the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.
Former Illinois Governor George Ryan cited the Tribune’s reportage as playing a key role in his historic decision to institute a moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois in 2000. Ryan cited the work of Maurice and his Tribune colleagues in 2003 when he commuted the death sentences of 167 Death Row inmates to life in prison without parole. In January 2011, the Illinois State legislature voted to repeal the death penalty permanently. In March, 2011, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn signed the bill and Illinois became the 16th state to ban the death penalty in the U.S.
Maurice was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize three times — once for public service (2000), and twice for national reporting (2001, 2007) — for his work on wrongful convictions and wrongful executions.
In 2008, Maurice was one of two lead members of a team of Tribune reporters awarded the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for a series of articles on hazardous children’s products that prompted numerous recalls as well as the most comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in the history of that agency.
Maurice is the author of three non-fiction books — Everybody Pays: Two Men, One Murder and the Price of Truth, The Brown’s Chicken Massacre and the New York Times best-seller Hitler in the Crosshairs: A GI’s Story of Courage and Faith.
Maurice is a sought-after speaker and lecturer who, since the 1980s has taught classes at the college and graduate-school level on investigative reporting and criminal-justice-related issues at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, the University of Montana, the University of Alaska, and the University of Michigan School of Law. From 2009 to 2012, he was an investigator for the Northern California Innocence Project at the University of Santa Clara’s School of Law.
Cathleen Falsani is an award-winning religion journalist and author of the critically acclaimed booksThe God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People, Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace, The Dude Abides: The Gospel According to the Coen Brothers, and BELIEBER: Fame, Faith and the Heart of Justin Bieber. She co-edited (with Jennifer Grant ) the 2014 collection Disquiet Time: Rants and Reflections on the Good Book by the Skeptical, the Faithful, and a Few Scoundrels.
A Connecticut native and granddaughter of Italian and Irish immigrants, Cathleen is a graduate of Wheaton College. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University as well as a master’s degree in theological studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. She also was a 2009 Divinity School Media Fellow at Duke University, a Gralla Fellow in Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, and was the 1996 Stoody-West Fellow in Religious Journalism.
Cathleen is a featured writer for Sojourners, where from August 2011 to December 2012, she served as Web Editor and Director of New Media for the Sojourners organization and ran its popular God’s Politics blog. She also was a contributing editor and columnist for Sojourners magazine. Cathleen was the religion writer and columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times from 2000 to 2010, and was a longtime contributor and columnist for Religion News Service. Most recently, she was the Faith & Values columnist for the Orange County Register (from February 2013 to January 2014, when her position was eliminated in a company-wide downsizing). During her busy tenure at the Register, she covered the election and first year of Pope Francis’ pontificate (traveling to Rome for his election and installation), the post-AIDS-emergency rebirth in Zambia and Malawi, music, film, comedy, and faith (among many other things.)
For 20 years, as a reporter, columnist, commentator, and essayist for a number of publications, Cathleen has covered her diverse “God beat” from locations as far afield as Vatican City, Vedic City, Ireland, Germany, the Caribbean, the West Wing, the Playboy Mansion and the dugout at Wrigley Field. She was honored as the 2005 James O. Supple Religion Writer of the Year by the Religion Newswriters Association, and has twice been a finalist for the Templeton Religion Reporter of the Year award. In addition to (and often complimenting) her work on the religion beat, Cathleen has written extensively about development and justice issues in the developing world (with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa), including in-the-field reporting from Malawi, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania and its island of Zanzibar, Haiti, and Nepal.
Chicago Magazine media critic Steve Rhodes called Cathleen’s writing one of Chicago’s “most compelling columns…despite her focus on a subject that often is handled with a deadly dullness.” Of her columnizing, Cathleen says she likes to try to “find God in the places some people say God isn’t supposed to be,” and that she defines both spirituality and popular culture quite broadly.
Cathleen's work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Christianity Today and Christian Century magazines, as well as the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, the Toronto Star, Kansas City Star, Madison Capital Times, The Harvard Divinity School Bulletin, CNN.com and other publications in North America and Europe. She has appeared as a commentator on CNN, Oprah Winfrey’s “Soul Series,” National Public Radio’s “The Story” and “Weekend Edition,” BBC World Service, FoxNewsChannel, Moody Radio, WGN-Radio, NPR’s “Day to Day,” The Tavis Smiley Show (on PBS), and a host of other radio and television venues. She has been a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post since 2006.
Cathleen is an experienced public speaker, having presented lectures and talks at colleges, universities, civic organizations, houses of worship and large faith-based conferences throughout the United States and abroad. She is honored to serve as a member of the advisory board for ONE Girls and Women, part of the ONE Campaign, and on the board of directors for Growers First.
Maurice and Cathleen, who have been married since 1997, live and work together in Laguna Beach, California. They have a teenage son, Vasco, whom they adopted from Malawi, Africa in 2010.