A&E shirks responsibility for episodes that broadcast incorrect information, and spokespeople confess they don't reedit or correct flawed programs beyond stating at a show's end that murder charges were dropped. "We simply film the investigations as they unfold," a spokesperson said. "Every episode states clearly that all individuals are innocent until proven guilty."

"No one cared that my boy was killed, and the cops just rushed it for a damn show."

The preamble has A&E covered legally, perhaps, but ethically? Miami Detective Fernando Bosch admitted under oath in 2011 that he has "play-acted" parts of investigations for The First 48 and couldn't tell upon later viewing which parts were staged and which were real. "Most of [the detectives] do things like that," he said.

More troubling still, the show almost exclusively highlights some of the most impoverished neighborhoods across the nation. Nearly every person charged with murder belongs to the same demographic: young, male, black, urban, poor, and without resources to challenge a television conglomerate like A&E. They all resemble Taiwan Smart.


Taiwan Smart repeatedly said he didn't commit or witness the murders. The cops didn't listen.
Marta Xochilt Perez
Taiwan Smart repeatedly said he didn't commit or witness the murders. The cops didn't listen.
A killer executed Raynathan Ray, 14, and Jonathan Volcy, 18, with single bullets to the backs of their heads.
Courtesy of Joe Klock
A killer executed Raynathan Ray, 14, and Jonathan Volcy, 18, with single bullets to the backs of their heads.

As though constructing a mammoth jigsaw puzzle, Marlene Montaner laid out all of the files on the floor of her Brickell apartment. The documents spilled past the kitchen, through the living room, and into her bedroom. It was afternoon, early 2010. And Montaner had just received most of the police files on Taiwan Smart.

Montaner, a veteran court-appointed defense attorney who's defended dozens of clients charged with murder, knew exactly how to start. First, look for the most damaging evidence: confessions, witness accounts, whether the defendant had possession of the murder weapon. Montaner freely admits that most of her clients have had at least some complicity in their crimes. So as she hopscotched across the documents, she was resigned to believe she'd find the worst.

"But then I was like, 'Wait a second,'" Montaner recalls. "There weren't any confessions or anyone pointing the finger at Taiwan or any direct evidence, and I remember just looking for someone anywhere saying he was the one who did it. You had one witness in which police misrepresented what she said, but that was it." She visited Taiwan the next day. His manner conveyed innocence, but who could be sure? She paid for his polygraph test, and he passed.

That's when she hired a private detective and scrutinized the police investigation. She says they found a "sloppy," "rushed" case that hinged upon a contaminated crime scene and one witness who hadn't seen the murders. Police hadn't arrived at the 77th Street apartment until more than an hour after the murders, and by then, bloody footprints — none of which matched Smart's foot size — inked the cluttered space.

Detectives had also made a big deal of the bullet casings, claiming their presence inside the home refuted Smart's assertion that the shooter had been outside. But it's unclear from the investigation's log whether police ever thoroughly searched the apartment's grassy exterior for additional casings — a vital lapse. According to the logs, police discovered fewer casings than bullet holes, six of which had trajectories leading from the window where Smart claimed the stranger had shot.

But as weeks melted into months and months into years, nothing happened. Sanchez didn't release his lead investigator's report, which is necessary for trial, until after Smart had spent more than a year in prison. (Sanchez later "admitted" to prosecutor Marie Mato that he "dropped the ball" in his delay, according to emails obtained by New Times.)

Smart, awaiting trial and convinced he'd never be free, was transferred to the Miami-Dade Stockade. "Everyone in there was like, 'Man, you in here for two murders? It don't matter if you did it or not, you ain't ever getting out,'" Smart remembers. "There were guys in there who'd been charged with murder like me, and they'd been waiting for trial for seven years."

Then, as depression threatened to swallow the youth, serendipity struck. Within the stockade are sprawling cells that house dozens of men at a time, and inside Smart's, a new inmate named Arsenio Carter had just arrived.

Twenty-one-year-old Carter was nearly as tall as Smart and possessed black, serious eyes lost among a wild tangle of dreadlocks. Police had charged him with holding up a Starbucks near the University of Miami's campus. (Those allegations were later dropped.)

Day after day, Carter eyed Smart. "Aren't you the guy who's in jail for those two Little Haiti murders?" Carter asked Smart, according to court records filed in Smart's defense. From that moment, a tension grew between the two young men. Carter allegedly taunted Smart in front of other inmates and derided him behind his back.

On January 11, Carter took aside inmate Earnest Evans, 20, whom he knew from the outside. "I have a secret to tell you," Carter said, according to Evans' later testimony. "But you can't tell anyone or you'll have an enemy for life." Carter motioned at Smart. "I let that fuck nigger get away," Evans alleged Carter said. "I went to rob [his apartment], and he got away, but I killed two other dudes that was there."

Evans said Carter detailed that night with great specificity: "My friend pretended to buy drugs while I crouched behind the window. When he had the attention of the guy at the window, I sprung up and fired some shots into the house. I seen one of the guys leave." Carter said he pointed the gun at one of the two men remaining inside the apartment, telling him to open the front door.

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90 comments
jaytoolman92
jaytoolman92

It will be interesting to see how the court system handles this whole situation. I hate to see innocent people get tied up with these types of things. I really feel for that girl who now has to find a lawyer to help her understand the legal system just because she found the bodies. http://armstrongbarrington.com/criminal.htm

darrin.weis1
darrin.weis1

Hey NIHGABBBY? CAUGHT THE VIBE YET? WE HATE YOU.

darrin.weis1
darrin.weis1

It is tough being a porch monkey in a world that detests you. 

t13heather
t13heather

There are many people that are in prison that are innocent. You're stupid to blame a TV show for putting innocent people in prison. If "The First 48" did not exist, there would still be people in prison wrongly convicted. This is a stupid article. Reality TV is not actual reality.

Lynxx3
Lynxx3

Excellent read. This is such a travesty of justice. I hope you win your case against the PD Mr. Smart.

And I hope you get your life back.  

Killjudas
Killjudas

Terrence Mccoy (author) you are a lousy journalist. Next time be less sensational and more factual. I don't love or hate the First 48 show for documenting what's happening. Whether it's filmed or not, black men are still falsely imprisoned every hour, I'd argue. I understand the prison industrial complex and it's disastrous effects. It's modern slavery for African Americans (and sometimes anyone without a good lawyer). However, you're making your disdain for First 48 laughable because you're sensationalizing the story. You're overly descriptive... "a curvacious 18 year old woman named ciara"... "teenager she recently started sleeping with". Whoa! Is this a soap opera or valuable information. Your writing is lousy.

loriegrande
loriegrande

Great article.  The fact is that this show negatively impacts homicide investigations and prosecutions.  If only one homicide investigation were to be impacted by this show, just one - that should suffice as grave enough of an impact to take the show off the air.  But many more than one have been impacted; that is not what A&E wants to believe making money off the show or even what those who are entertained by the show want to believe, yet it is true.  However, being personally impacted by this show, perhaps, my view is skewed.  What is needed is a independent, professional assessment and analysis of the impact of this show on homicide investigations across the country, since its inception.  I am happy to lend a hand to anyone interested in advocating for such as assessment. I can be reached at Facebook:  William Fenzau.

AsokAsus
AsokAsus

Ridiculous article. Very few of the crimes depicted are actually solved in 48 hours. Many shows depict investigations that go on for months. 


It is a fascinating show, however, as it does show how police investigations work, with most crimes being solved due to either witness/informers are the fact that video cameras are so pervasive that many crimes are caught on tape.


And the real cherry on top is that most of the ignorant, stupid criminals actually confess on tape in the interview room with the most obvious ploys by the cops like, "Well, we heard from so-and-so you shot Skeeter 12 times, but we'd like to hear your version of how many times you shot him." And the shooter says, "Oh, no way. I only shot Skeeter twice. Can I go home now?"

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.........................funny but isn't it the ADVERTISERS that actually contribute the money funding the profit of the show ?

so if the GOP national committee wanted to pay millions to air this show - they could - right ?

okay so what about the billions of dollars in food stamps and section 8 housing assistance and school and municipal services including water sewer and electric that is spent of public taxpayer money in aid and assistance and support in these communites under NIMBY (white people pay so these people don't live near them (N)ot (I)n (M)y (B)ack(Y)ard

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

...................blaming a reality based TV show for airing peoples' general stupidity is the real story here.................IF tywana and treyvon and now taiwan had been in the LIBRARY there is NO SHOW - right ? say amen !

brawley , martin and now smart (who apparently isn't) are ALL throw-away kids who's parents only had them to quilify for FREE government cheeze and section 8 housing and oBaMaphones and these kids get "thrown away" once they no longer qualify their parent for financial hand-outs and public support - so they are basically on their own UNeducated UNemployable and desperate leading to drug use and eventual abuse making them prone to do stupid things like crimes which escalate in severity until BANG its over for them

it doesn't look like the world is losing a rocket scientist here and what was spent on him from public taxpayers pockets life-to-date probably exceeds hundreds of thousands of dollars total in food stamps and assisted housing and support from social services and free programs which he has no chance to ever pay back = period

blame the parents

Derek Austin Scholl
Derek Austin Scholl

like its our faults cops are morons and the undesirables they catch are even dumber

mwillemstein
mwillemstein

oh boo hoo...like this is the first case of injustice in your great US of A....look at your track record and now u wanna blame a TV show...love the first 48 and have every episode recorded....to all you haters Kiss my ass....'they make the black neighborhoods look bad'....duh...wonder why...cause that's where all the shit happens...plundering, murdering and raping anything they can get their hands on....even if they were offered a way out they wouldn't take it cause they prefer their 'thug' life....killing a man just because he looked at you or 'mad dogged' you as the knuckle dragging thugs like to call it.....Det. Dwayne Thompson is a legend..can't wait to see any episode with him in....

SoBeBaby
SoBeBaby

Take a hard look at ALL reality TV


1. Gold Rush  - a complete farce with big commercial placements in the show - Caterpillar, Volvo donate the heavy equipment just so these clowns can dig holes and create environmental havoc. The costs of operation versus the gold recovered at today's price - If the people where not getting paid from the production, they would be broke.


2. Dog Bounty - again, all the product placement - GM donates new SUVs and there are other stuff plugged into the show. Is it real? yes...but as Dog gets richer it becomes more scripted. Put a fish on the hook and pretend you caught it.


3. Flipping Vegas - complete farce with the "theme" of every show...The production team actually stages the house before the remodel.


4. 48  well...it's real enough but I have to wonder if any witness has ever been killed?  Or will be killed when they are ID'd as the person who gave info to the cops...

fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

Too many police detectives care more about 'closing' a case instead of 'solving' a case. Prosecutors care more about a conviction instead of justice. Any city that allows their police department to showboat for the few minutes of air time deserves to be named and shamed publicly in re: how many innocent lives they are helping to ruin.

CITYRIDERRT19
CITYRIDERRT19

Glad the show has moved on, puts Miami in a negative light and lumps the city in with other crime infested cities, Detroit, Cincinnati, Memphis, etc. 

uibhui
uibhui

What you should have looked into is who benefits from the charity that the City of Miami demanded the first 48 donate money to. There's a reason why they demanded money for that specific charity. It was an attempt to extort the show for money. This isn't meant to defend the First 48, but there's a bigger story here if the New Times had the balls to look into real corruption in the City.

seekermld
seekermld

How much do the producers of 48 Hours generate from this show????  And they declined to pay or rather - Donate $10,000 for  the  benefits of children in these neighbourhoods.   So they dropped them.  I am never watching this unethical show.  How is it that they can take pictures and invade the privacy of these people?  They should be responsible to the wrongly accused and not air shows that they know have been innocent.  There should be some loop holes to shut these vultures down.  We need to pass this on. Set up a petition to turn them off.  And as for the detectives who want their 5 minutes of fame.  Shame on those who twist the truth to their advantage.  It is frightening how vulnerable all of us are.  Anyone of us can be accused of a crime from lies from immoral policing.  If they do not have to pay the consequences for the lives that they have destroyed the KARMA is a B....h.

Andrea Dutchland
Andrea Dutchland

This is why they don't have first 48 in miami anymore . If u watch first 48 you'd know that .

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

....................................the "judicial system" is the BIG taxpayer MONEY feeder source not only for TV,  but the funding for judges pensions, police overtime, building construction and maintenance, and on and on = cha -ching

here in FT LIQUORDALE we are building a new courthouse complex that must be tens of millions of dollars in under the table costs alone

we will need ALL THE ignorant and poor and disenfranchised people living in heavily populated and unsecure drug-infested heavily populated neighborhoods to PAY FOR ALL THAT 

we will need ALL THE shoot-outs and armed robberies and drug-deals gone bad in those neighborhoods to provide steady J O B S for judges and lawyers and cops (especailly now that scott rothstein no longer funds BSO employees) and bloated and corrupt administrative  staffs and ALSO maintain correctional facilities and property including computer systems and paper-shredders

withOUT the ignorant and destitude committing crimes against themselves WE THE (mostly white) PEOPLE couldn't suck out taxpayer money for salaries and commissions and bonuses and pension contributions and fraud and under the table hand outs = period

it's a BEAUTIFUL THING

Jeffrey Knight
Jeffrey Knight

A&E probably figures this show is equal in popularity to E!'s "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" and encourages detectives to ham it up for the cameras. I watched it a couple times, but never again...now that I know...

DRAKEMALLARD.0
DRAKEMALLARD.0 topcommenter


The prison-industrial complex is a system situated at the intersection of government and private interests. It uses prisons as a solution to social, political, and economic problems. It includes human rights violations, the death penalty, slave labor, policing, courts, the media, political prisoners, and the elimination of dissent.Some men kill and go to prison-- sentenced to life or death. Some men go to prison even if they haven't killed-- for life and sometimes for death.

tonlo
tonlo

@Killjudas so no white people convicted are innocent? It's just black men? Gimme a break & stop making everything about race. There are crooks, murderers, sex offenders etc in every race, country, religion & economic status. Goes the same with the wrongfully accused. Treat & judge everyone the same, don't be part of the problem.

tambocha
tambocha

@AsokAsus  The producers know that the whole 48 hours thing is just a device.  Besides, they even say that it's about finding a lead within 48 hours, not solving the case. That pretty much covers them.  It's not worth getting distracted from the merits or criticisms of the show itself over the title of the show.

lendagod
lendagod

Yes blame the parents for railroading and the mistreatment of people who don't have the understanding of laws or the means to get suitable legal counsel to fight said charges....Frank let me ask you a question if your brother was stalked and cornered by person then shot after defending them selves you would be up in arms about the rights of people being trampled on correct? If you were in your home the pace you are supposed to feel the ultimate safety with your family and someone tries to kill you and kills your family you get away but get charged for the murder would you say," well I guess I'm guilty cause I wasn't reading a book"?!? No you wouldn't because no one deserves to be put in lockup for a second if they don't deserve it period sir. You sound idiotic with your backwards logic the end all be all isn't education and the library won't keep innocent people out of jail boy stop.

DonaldDilly
DonaldDilly

Confessions can be faked. Police can use duress, and there have been cases where people were forced to confess to things they didn't do

joshlicon
joshlicon

You are racist and ignorant. That is all.

nuther_88
nuther_88

@mwillemstein DT is the real deal fosho...but there's a few clowns as well - Interview skills suck...Peep ready to confess but det shuts it down. (Cleveland)

mccoy.terrence
mccoy.terrence

@uibhui  Please e-mail me and let's talk about that. You can reach me at terrence.mccoy@miaminewtimes.com.

Thanks very much, 

Terrence McCoy

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.............."The prison-industrial complex is ....,"

YES indeed that's a BINGO !

as long as poor uneducated destitute BLACK kids go on drug-induced binges then shoot at themselves and continue to commit crimes THE GREASE is on that WHEEL = period

feeder breeders are young BLACK women who continue to have kids they cannot afford (and who ultimately will "enter the system" and perpetuate the poverty and crime and keep the taxpayer money flowing to the judiciary and law enforcement operations and jails)

like richard pryor said JUSTICE for BLACK people means " JUST US " !

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@lendagod  


i guess rev sharpton and his ilk really do get to shape the BLACK people narrative because you miss the point 


okay by me but another fifty (50) years will go by and BLACK people may be obsolete and more irrelevant than they are today,  especially when the BLACK family disintegrates entirely


jews made it, italians made it, germans made it, asians made it and now hispanics are making it - WHY ?


GO ASK THEM HOW,  like i did and do,  and they ALL say the same thing - their parents and a supportive family !


you won't see any jews or italians or germans or asians or hispanics going around with their pants pulled down to their knees and their caps on backwards - WHY ? - they ALL say because they do NOT wish to disrespect their parents and bring SHAME to their supportive family

mwillemstein
mwillemstein

@joshlicon  nobody commends the detectives for all the times that they got it right...so typical...seek the bad and ignore the good...

mwillemstein
mwillemstein

@joshlicon  My favorite detective in the show is Dwayne Thompson and he happens to be black and i'm a racist...wtf

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@lendagod  


okay 


good luck with all that


when you want to join civilized society, pull your pants UP put you cap on straight get a book and READ it (and thank a teacher) and we will be here waiting for you

lendagod
lendagod

Yes your right there isn't a mafia or murder Inc wasn't Jewish gangsters the Azn the neo Nazis I could go all night your missing the point sir just because the minority is bad doesn't mean the majority should be punished I don't divide things by race or social economic standing things of this nature is right or wrong and if your racist behind was being falsely accused I would feel the same way period END OF DISCUSSION

bookermarcus87
bookermarcus87

@frankd4 @lendagod Who says that pulling up one's pants, wearing a baseball cap "straight", and reading a book deems one civilized?  Russell Simmons is a billionaire and YOU, my friend, are a blogging zero.  Get my point?

 
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