Last year, one podcast took the world by storm. I am of course referring to (shameless plug alert) the Total Frat Move podcast, but coming in a close 2nd was Serial. In case you legit live under a rock, the twelve episode podcast followed the case of Adnan Syed, who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison plus thirty years following the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in Baltimore in 1999.
The original podcast, and as well as a follow-up podcast called Undisclosed , examined the evidence in Adnan’s case, raised lots of good questions, and while never quite exonerating Adnan, offered at least a small amount of reasonable doubt that he was Hae’s killer, causing many to call for an appeal. And now, that may come true.
On Monday, one of Adnan’s new attorneys, C. Justin Brown, filed a court motion seeking an appeal based on the fact that Baltimore police completely disregarded a cover sheet from AT&T. The note was included with data from Adnan’s cell phone, which states that incoming call data, which was what was used in the case to assert that Adnan was in Leakin Park where Hae was buried, was not reliable for determining the call’s originating location.
From the appeal:
It is now known, however, that when AT&T provided the cellular tower data to the State, AT&T explicitly warned the State that: “Outgoing calls only are reliable for location status. Any incoming calls will NOT be considered reliable information for location.”… Despite this unambiguous warning, the State presented at trial evidence of incoming calls to determine location and used this to convict Syed. The State then relied on this supposed proof in arguments to the Post-Conviction Court.
Also of note is that Cristina Gutierrez, Adnan’s original attorney who was accused of mishandling the case before her death in 2004, was in possession of the note as well and never raised it as an issue. Assuming that the cell phone data is invalid, it is possible that the alibi for the time of the murder provided by Asia McClain, who said that she was speaking to him in the library during the time that Hae was killed, may be validated. McClain never testified in the original trial as that Gutierrez failed to call her.
This may be an additional chance at a new trial for Adnan; according to The Baltimore Sun,
“The Court of Special Appeals agreed in February to hear Syed’s appeal of a lower court ruling that denied his request for a new trial. The court said in May that McClain should be allowed to testify so her account could be considered in deliberations on whether Syed deserves a new trial. The court called on the Baltimore Circuit Court to reopen Syed’s post-conviction hearings so McClain’s testimony could be taken.”
So did Adnan do it? I don’t know. But it should be interesting to watch this all play out. Think they’ll live broadcast the new trial if he gets one? I need something to listen to at work.