Serial’s Impact On Adnan Syed’s Case Is Both Cause for Celebration and Somber Reflection

On Tuesday there was a new podcast episode for the first time in years Serial season one its subject, Adnan Syed, who has been serving a life sentence for the past 23 years for the murder of his former high school sweetheart Hae Min Lee, was released from prison on Monday. A Baltimore judge reversed the conviction because prosecutors said they no longer had confidence in the case against him. When the verdict came Serial tweeted immediately that his host Sarah Kinga former Baltimore sun Reporter, who became a virtual celebrity for dissecting Syed’s case in a dozen episodes in 2014, was in the courtroom. Their reporting and the investigative true crime series from the people behind it This American life garnered a cult following, broke records, and revitalized the podcast industry. “The original Serial Series could be (by a number of standards) the most influential piece of journalism in the last decade,” said the journalist Wesley Lowery tweeted Monday, after Syed’s release.

But Koenig’s message in the supplement to her first true crime podcast series took on a darker tone. It was far from celebrating the podcast’s influence in making Syed a national figure with Koenig and Other He reacted to Monday’s development as a devastating reminder of how many times the system had failed in Syed’s case. “There was a lot of talk about fairness yesterday,” she said in the closing moments of Tuesday morning’s episode. “But most of what the state put into that eviction request, all of the actual evidence, was either known or known to police officers and prosecutors in 1999. Even on a day when the government is publicly acknowledging its own mistakes, it is It’s hard to celebrate a triumph of fairness because we’ve built a system that’s taken more than 20 years to correct itself – and it’s just this one case.”

It is true that there have been a number of developments in Syed’s case in the years since Serialwho, among other things, discovered the existence of an alibi witness whom Syed’s original defense had not contacted and that physical evidence collected at the time was never tested for Syed’s DNA; An HBO show later revealed that Syed’s DNA was not found on Lee’s body or belongings. Syed, Koenig said, seemed to be keeping his expectations low the entire time. “At least from the outside, it is difficult to name the impact satisfactorily Serial and later, the HBO show covered the events leading up to Syed’s release from prison yesterday,” according to CJR Jon Allop wrote on Tuesday, when “in a way that cannot easily be dissociated from the progress of the case itself, they drew and then sustained great public attention to his case, and yet the cancellation of his sentence took years and eventually flowed out of a new one.” law and an official procedure.”

Last week, in a motion to overturn, the Baltimore City Attorney said Koenig said in Tuesday’s episode that “it erupted like fireworks from the prosecutor’s office” that “the state no longer has confidence in the integrity of the conviction,” although he abruptly stopped exonerating Syed. “The prosecutors are not saying today that Adnan is innocent,” Koenig said. “Instead they say we didn’t investigate this case thoroughly enough in 1999; We relied on evidence we shouldn’t have and we broke the rules when we prosecuted.” Prosecutors cited in the filing a nearly year-long investigation that uncovered new information about “the possible involvement of two alternative suspects ‘ – both of which were known to investigators at the time – as well as unearthed important evidence prosecutors may not have considered Syed’s lawyers and ‘significant reliability issues relating to the most critical pieces of evidence’, including the cell phone data Serial had asked. On Monday, a judge gave prosecutors 30 days to either start a new trial or drop the case; Until then, Syed will serve house arrest. “The chances of the state ever trying to prosecute Adnan again are slim at best,” said Koenig, who told dem TimesDavid Leonhardt that she was “shocked” by the prosecution’s request last week and “didn’t see it coming at all.”

The first season of Serial is still talked about like few other podcast series to this day, although it’s not the only investigative one that has brought new, meaningful attention to old cases. But the 2014 show, which emerged as smartphones became ubiquitous and seemed to usher in a so-called golden age of podcasting, stands out the most. This even applies to Serial Productions, their final seasons and other shows –Nice white parents, The Trojan Affair– pales in comparison. The New York Timeswhich Serial Productions bought in 2020, Koenig’s Tuesday episode continued to air The daily. But it was Monday outside the courtroom where the lasting impact of season one was most apparent, in the swathes of press that found a newly freed Syed. Serial’s Impact On Adnan Syed’s Case Is Both Cause for Celebration and Somber Reflection

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