Tuesday, February 4, 2014

First 48: Popular TV show is accused of making "millions" off of imprisoning innocents - in its rush to close a case within 48 hours at the expense of a methodical, thorough investigation - in fascinating article by Terrence McKoy, published by the Miami New Times. (Must, Must read. HL);

STORY: "The First 48 makes millions off of  imprisoning innocents," by Terrence McKoy, published by the Miami New Times, on January 16, 2014.

GIST: "It was great television. And sure enough, within days, barely past the show's deadline, Miami Police had their man. The missing roommate, 21-year-old Taiwan Smart — who'd been present before the murders but conspicuously absent afterward — was charged on November 18, 2009, with two counts of second-degree murder. "What we have is a circumstantial case, but the circumstantial evidence that we have tells a strong story," Detective Fabio Sanchez said into the cameras as Smart was carted away in handcuffs. Sanchez paused. "It's a shame that these two victims, who were very young, had to lose their lives to a person who they thought was their friend." But the cops' case wasn't nearly as strong as Sanchez made it sound. To lock up Smart — which they'd do for a staggering 20 months — Miami Police would grossly misrepresent witness statements and tell outright lies. They'd take an impoverished kid and destroy his character not only on the streets but on a national scale. Finally, they'd ignore the man who was fingered as the real killer. The tragedy inflicted upon this wrongfully accused man, however, is only the latest injustice in this show's history. In Detroit, city police shot a 7-year-old girl in the head in a bungled attempt to catch a suspect on The First 48. In Houston, another man was locked up for three years after cops wrongfully accused him of murder within the first 48 hours. And in Miami, according to a New Times examination of court records, at least 15 men have walked free of murder charges spawned under the program's glare. Despite it all — sloppy crime scenes, rushed arrests, ruined lives — The First 48, which has now reached its 13th season, is as popular as ever. Millions of Americans tune in to every new episode, and with ratings as seductive as these, who cares about a few botched investigations?".........At least Smart can still defend himself. Put in touch with attorney Joe Klock, who's taken the case pro bono, Smart has filed a civil lawsuit against the City of Miami for false arrest and imprisonment. "Despite the police questioning of Taiwan for 15 consecutive hours," the lawsuit says, "and his pleas of innocence and his factual accounts, police were only concerned with closing the book on the crime within 48 hours to captivate the public with the expeditious crime-solving... It intentionally placed Taiwan as a remote second in importance to the pursuit of the First 48 marquee."The lawsuit doesn't specify what monetary compensation, if any, Smart wants. Driving through the streets of his old neighborhood in Little Haiti, which is haunted with the ghosts of nearly one dozen murdered friends, Smart considered the matter. He'd like to one day attend college, maybe even get a small house. He slowly shook his head. "I can't even think about money," Smart finally says. "I just want my life back. When I was in that interrogation, I remember asking Sanchez if it would have been better off if I'd been killed too. And he said, 'Yes, it would have been better if you'd been killed too.' I just don't want to feel that way anymore. I want my life back.""

The entire story can be found at:



Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

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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:
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