photo of braga interviewing a childdid daddy do it?

home
a monster
interviewing children
interviewing children
the miami method
discussion
the miami method of prosecuting child abuse cases

The so-called "Miami Method," developed in the 1980s by the office of Dade County State Attorney Janet Reno, became a national model for vigilantly pursuing day care sexual abuse cases. Reno set up a special children's unit inside the state attorney's office staffed with "child experts" who specialized in cases of child sexual abuse. The "Miami Method" utililized videotaped interviews with children and expert testimony assuring jurors that the children should be believed. A state law was changed to allow the children to testify from the judge's chambers. The method also required physical evidence and the testimony of an adult eyewitness.

The so-called "Miami Method" was first used in the case of Frank Fuster. It was also used to prosecute two other day care sexual abuse cases -- those involving Grant Snowden and Bobby Fijnje. Here are summaries of the Fijnje and Snowden cases and excerpts from an interview with former Florida prosecutor David Markus in which he describes the "Miami Method."


The Case Against Grant Snowden
The state of Florida twice prosecuted Snowden for child sexual molestation. The first time he was acquitted; the second time, prosecutors won conviction based primarily on three witnesses and two pieces of physical evidence. Snowden was sentenced to five life terms. After spending 12 years in prison, Snowden's case was overturned in 1998 in a federal habeas appeal. Read FRONTLINE's interviews with Snowden, his lawyer, and prosecutor David Markus, as well as a summary of his case.
The Case Against Bobby Finje
Miami prosecutors charged 14-year-old Bobby Fijnje with sexually molesting a group of children he baby-sat at church. He was held in the Miami Juvenile Detention Center for two years, refused the state's offer of a plea bargain, and finally stood trial. The jury acquitted him on all charges in May 1991. Read FRONTLINE's interviews with Fijnje and his lawyer, a summary of his case, and a letter written to Janet Reno in which jurors explain why her office failed to make a convincing case.
more on the miami method
In this excerpt from his interview in FRONTLINE's 1998 report "The Child Terror," former Florida prosecutor David Markus explains the new approach and procedures Janet Reno's office developed for pursuing child sexual abuse cases.

home : introduction : a monster? : lessons from the 80s : interviewing children
miami method : discussion : interviews : video : producer chat : tapes & transcripts
press : credits : privacy : FRONTLINE : wgbh : pbsi

web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation

SUPPORT PROVIDED BY

RECENT STORIES

FRONTLINE on

ShopPBS