STORY: "'Raked over the coals.'...An investigation that spanned more than two years, prompting significant change within the Phoenix Fire Department," by Chief Investigative Reporter Wendy Halloran, published by 12 News. (12 News celebrates and champions the people of Arizona every day. We are the leading local source for news and information in Phoenix, Arizona and its metro population. As the NBC affiliate in the 12th-largest market in the country, the 12 News team serves more than 2 million people every day. In our ever-changing, fast-paced world, 12 News continues to embrace its rich history and legacy of award-winning journalism while moving forward and evolving how Arizonans access information relevant to them across multiple platforms, including and various social media channels every day.")

GIST: "12 News Chief Investigative Reporter Wendy Halloran relentlessly researched evidence, poured over records, met with those at the highest levels of city government, sought out nationally renowned experts in fire investigation and tracked down victims of of wrongful arrest to get  to the truth. In an effort to boast it had the highest arson clearance rates in the country, the Phoenix Fire Department arson squad followed unlawful policies and ignored national fire investigation standards which led to wrongful arrests, grand jury indictments and prosecution of several innocent people. It's embarrassing. That he used that phrase is embarrassing, I think, for all of us. It is for myself. Former Phoenix Fire Department Chief Bob Khan, in reference to Capt. Fred Andes' telling his arson dog to 'fake it.' For more than two years starting in February, 2013, 12 News delved into the once highly-touted Phoenix Fire Department arson unit. It was in 2014 that the rolling investigation, called "Raked Over the Coals," truly prompted change and led to the removal of three employees from fire investigations, among other things. The reporting triggered an FBI investigation and an Arizona Department of Public Safety criminal probe. "Raked Over the Coals" revealed misconduct on the part of the arson investigators which led to the recommendation of criminal charges against two arson investigators for lying under oath.   They were entered into the Maricopa County Attorney's Office database for peace officers who've lied under oath and have integrity issues. The MCAO is declining to prosecute any of the cases Capt. Sam Richardson and Capt. Fred Andes previously investigated. They were permanently removed from fire investigations along with their former supervisor, Fire Marshal Jack Ballentine. The investigation also led to a review of all of their cases by the Arizona Justice Project, part of the national Innocence Project, to make sure that an innocent person isn't sitting in prison as a result of a wrongful conviction based on evidence from the discredited arson investigators. And it resulted in the early retirement of Fire Chief Bob Khan and the forced retirement of the arson dog, Sadie. Most recently it played a pivotal role in Barbara Sloan's civil case against her insurance company in which she lost. Sloan was among those we profiled who were wrongly accused of arson. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Arthur Anderson overturned a $1.68 million judgment against Sloan after a five-week jury trial because she may not have received a fair trial. Our reporting played a pivotal role in Judge Anderson's ruling, which was an extraordinary move in that Anderson was the presiding judge in this trial, and the verdict he overturned was his own. "It is enough that the DPS Report casts heavy shadows on the integrity of the PFD investigation that was the bedrock of Farmers' trial defense," he wrote. Matthew Casey from The Arizona Republic contributed to the reporting.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;