Martin Kaste

NPR's Martin Kaste covers the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and western Canada, and occasionally roams farther afield. Kaste's reports and features can be heard on all of NPR's news programs and newscasts.

Politics is a big part of Kaste's beat, and he's followed the career of Alaska's Sarah Palin since well before the day she was picked as John McCain's running mate.

He also specializes in privacy issues, focusing on the government's wireless wiretapping practices, and the data-collection and analysis that goes on behind the scenes in social media and other new media.

Before moving to the West Coast, Kaste spent five years as NPR's South America reporter. He covered the drug wars in Colombia, the financial meltdown in Argentina, the rise of Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, and the fall of Haiti's president Jean Bertrand Aristide. All told, Kaste covered the overthrow of five presidents in five years.

Kaste joined NPR fulltime in February 2000, after working in St. Paul as a political reporter for Minnesota Public Radio, which he joined in 1993. He's a graduate of Carleton College.

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12:53pm

Wed July 23, 2014
Law

New York Death Reignites Decades-Old Debate Over Neck Restraints

A memorial for Eric Garner rests on the pavement near the site of his death. The poster on the ground quotes Garner; video of the arrest shows him telling police officers he couldn't breathe, shortly before he lost consciousness.
John Minchillo AP

Eric Garner's funeral will be held in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Wednesday afternoon. The New Yorker died last week shortly after being wrestled to the ground by police.

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3:06am

Wed July 9, 2014
Law

States Push For Prison Sentence Overhaul; Prosecutors Push Back

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 6:01 am

The Lafayette Parish Correctional Center in downtown Lafayette, La. By most counts, Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country, but sentencing reformers have loosened some of the state's mandatory minimum sentences and made parole slightly easier to get.
Denny Culbert for NPR

Some red states like Louisiana and Texas have emerged as leaders in a new movement: to divert offenders from prisons and into drug treatment, work release and other incarceration alternatives.

By most counts, Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country. In recent years, sentencing reformers in the capital, Baton Rouge, have loosened some mandatory minimum sentences and have made parole slightly easier for offenders to get.

But as reformers in Louisiana push for change, they're also running into stiffening resistance — especially from local prosecutors.

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3:50pm

Thu May 22, 2014
All Tech Considered

Can Cop-Worn Cameras Restore Faith In New Orleans Police?

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 12:23 pm

Lt. Travis St. Pierre, of the New Orleans Police Department, shows off a body-worn camera during a press conference in January.
Brett Duke The Times-Picayune/Landov

Body-worn video cameras are quickly becoming standard-issue for American police, especially at departments in the process of reform. And in New Orleans, the troubled police department is now requiring almost all officers to wear the cameras.

The city's police department has a dark history of corruption, racism and brutality. The low point may have been the Danziger Bridge episode, after Hurricane Katrina, when police shot unarmed people, then covered up the crime.

These days, the department is trying to rebuild the public's trust — which is where the body cameras come in.

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4:46pm

Wed May 21, 2014
Law

Invoking 'Castle Doctrine,' Mont. Man Pleads Not Guilty In Teen's Death

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 7:21 pm

German student Diren Dede was fatally shot after he entered the garage of Markus Kaarma in Montana last month. Dede was on a one-year high school exchange program to the U.S.
Oliver Hardt Getty Images

Montana resident Markus Kaarma pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of murdering a German exchange student last month. Kaarma shot the 17-year-old while the student was trespassing in his garage. The case has attracted international scrutiny to the contentious debate over how far Americans may go when defending their homes.

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2:00pm

Wed April 30, 2014
News

Botched Oklahoma Execution Mobilizes Death Penalty Opponents

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 4:18 pm

Oklahoma death row inmate Clayton Lockett's execution was botched on Tuesday, when a relatively new combination of drugs failed to work as expected. The incident, the second of its kind in recent months, is renewing questions of what constitutes "cruel and unusual punishment."

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