Julieta Martinelli | Nashville Public Radio

Julieta Martinelli


Martinelli is the 2017-2018 newsroom fellow at WPLN. She began as an intern in summer 2017, where she reported on criminal justice, immigration and social issues among other topics. Before arriving in Nashville, she split her time between the assignment desk and assisting the investigative team at CBS-46 in Atlanta. 

Martinelli spent five years working at an Atlanta law firm. Previously she worked as a writer and copy editor for Real Atlanta Magazine, a now-defunct bilingual monthly. She's also written for Gwinnett Daily Post and Atlanta Latino, where she reported in Spanish on immigration, education and issues affecting the Hispanic community in Georgia. Martinelli is a National Association of Hispanic Journalists scholarship winner, a NAHJ-NABJ 2016 Student Projects fellow and in 2017 was named a Chips Quinn Scholar by the Newseum Institute.

Julieta Martinelli / WPLN


Scroll down to read or hear this story in Spanish. Desplácese hacia abajo para leer o escuchar esta historia en español.

A Guatemalan mother separated from her 11-year-old daughter while attempting to cross into the United States to seek asylum in May reunited with her Thursday night at the Nashville International Airport. They were separated for more than six weeks.

Julieta Martinelli / WPLN

“You’re animals."

That was the first thing Albertina Contreras says she heard after she set foot on American soil, shortly before she was shackled and her daughter taken away to a detention facility for kids. They were headed for Murfreesboro, but only Contreras made it.

Now, attorneys are trying to reunite the family, in one of the first family separation cases identified in Tennessee. 

Julieta Martinelli / WPLN



The story of Matthew Charles, a Nashville man sent back to prison after being released for more than two years, has become something of a cause celeb, bringing pleas for his clemency all the way to the Oval Office.

Matthew Charles
Julie Martinelli / WPLN

A campaign seeking the release of a Nashville man from prison is flourishing on social media in the week following WPLN's report on Matthew Charles's case. Charles was released early in 2016, but a higher court later ruled his sentence reduction was a mistake and ordered him back behind bars.

Matthew Charles
Julie Martinelli / WPLN

When a Nashville man named Matthew Charles was released from prison early in 2016 after a sentence reduction, he’d spent almost half his life behind bars. But in a rare move, a federal court ruled his term was reduced in error and ordered him back behind bars to finish his sentence.

Courtesy National Bail Out

Some activists say Nashville’s new pre-trial release program, which aims to increase the number of low-income defendants released without having to pay bail, is not doing enough to keep poor people from waiting behind bars. They’re responding by organizing a “bail out” this weekend, part of a national campaign to get black moms home for Mother’s Day. 

Metro Nashville Police Department

A Nashville judge has ordered that the alleged Waffle House shooter undergo a mental health evaluation before returning to court.

It could be a hint defense lawyers are considering entering a not guilty plea by reason of insanity. But succeeding would take a lot more than proving the defendant is mentally ill.

Julieta Martinelli / WPLN

Some educators and advocates are concerned that a new bill aimed at curbing illegal immigration could lead to parents pulling their children out of school. The measure, if signed by the Governor, would require law enforcement to comply with federal immigration authorities, which opponents say could virtually turn officers inside schools into immigration agents.

It was that fear which drove hundreds of people to protest in front of the state Capitol last week, in one of the largest immigration demonstrations in recent years.

Julieta Martinelli / WPLN

Employees this morning removed the yellow police tape that has surrounded a Waffle House in Antioch since early Sunday morning, after a man opened fire with an AR-15, killing four and injuring several others.

Waffle House shooting
Julieta Martinelli / WPLN

In the end, it was a citizen tip that ended Monday’s police manhunt for Travis Reinking.