Carlton Hart, 42, an Indianapolis rap music producer, is not forgiving and forgetting the 687 days he spent behind bars for a crime he says he didn't commit, says the Indianapolis Star. Hart is suing the city, several Indianapolis police detectives, and the producers of a reality TV show that featured his case while he was jailed. The lawsuit in federal court claims false arrest and wrongful incarceration, malicious prosecution, denial of a speedy trial, defamation and infringement of due process.
The lawsuit also contends that the detective show “The Shift,” which aired on the Discovery Channel and featured Indidnapolis homicide detectives, defamed him. “An individual losing two years of his life is an injustice that our legal system is designed to address, and that's what Mr. Hart is pursuing in this case: justice,” said Sandra Blevins, one of his attorneys. Some defense attorneys had complained about airing episodes of the show while suspects awaited trial, asserting it could influence potential jury pools. Indiana University law Prof. Fran Watson said shows like “The Shift” suggest a presumption of guilt. “A basic right of defendants is to confront their accusers in court,” she said. “But there's no such thing on these shows. Someone watching doesn't see that confrontation.” Former Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said the show jeopardized ongoing cases, and Public Safety Director Frank Straub ended the police department participation early last year after the show's second year. Hart was freed from jail after prosecutors dismissed charges against him. He had been arrested in 2008 in a fatal shooting and the wounding of the victim's brother. The case never has been solved.