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Melissa Sanchez

Reporter

Photo of Melissa Sanchez

Melissa Sanchez is a reporter at ProPublica Illinois. She has lived in Chicago since 2014, writing primarily about education for the nonprofit magazine Catalyst Chicago and later its sister publication, The Chicago Reporter. Her stories there looked at the extraordinary costs of allowing private investors to finance public preschool programs, access to higher education for undocumented students and lax enforcement of city and state labor laws, among other issues.

Before coming to Chicago, she reported en español for el Nuevo Herald, the Miami Herald’s Spanish-language sister paper, on everything from rampant absentee ballot fraud and abusive police towing practices to a deadly prison fire in Honduras. And before that, she wrote about immigrants and gangs for the Yakima (Washington) Herald-Republic, and reported from Nicaragua through a fellowship from the Inter American Press Association.

How ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ Worked Together to Find Thousands of Duplicate Tickets in Chicago

We heard from you about how ticket debt, especially from $200 city sticker citations, has affected you. And we would like your help as we continue our reporting.

Three City Sticker Tickets on the Same Car in 90 Minutes?

Chicago has issued 20,000 duplicate city sticker tickets since 2007. City officials are now looking at whether this violates a city ordinance and say motorists might be in for a refund.

Chicago Begins To Rethink How Bankruptcy Lawyers Get Paid

Judges are demanding that lawyers tell their clients that their other debts might not get paid, but their lawyers will.

Some States No Longer Suspend Driver’s Licenses for Unpaid Fines. Will Illinois Join Them?

Our analysis shows suspensions tied to ticket debt disproportionately affect motorists in largely black sections of Chicago and its suburbs.

She Owed $102,158.40 in Unpaid Tickets, but She’s Not in the Story

Still, we want to tell you a little bit about her, and about some of the other people we interviewed, because they helped inform our ticket debt investigation.

How Chicago Ticket Debt Sends Black Motorists Into Bankruptcy

A cash-strapped city employs punitive measures to collect from cash-strapped black residents — and lawyers benefit.

The Many Roads to Bankruptcy

Here are some stories of Chicagoans driven into ticket debt.

When Is a Story Ready to Publish?

It's a tricky balance: more reporting versus the need to get the story out. And sometimes deadlines come and go.

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