The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards Justice. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I am a HUGE fan of the Serial Podcast – an investigative journalism tour de force by Sarah Koenig wherein she explores a true story to (what I am hoping is) its logical conclusion. In the first season of Serial, Sarah takes on the case of Adnan Syed who was sentenced to life in prison on charges of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.
I’d be somewhat surprised if you have not heard of this podcast. It is a top ranking podcast on iTunes – and has developed somewhat of a fanatical fan base and following. In fact I saw a podcast on iTunes that is a podcast about the Serial podcast (wherein a bunch of fans sit around and air their thoughts about Serial) – I tuned out. If you have not heard it yet, I would highly encourage you to do so. If you DO listen to Serial, and are a fan, I would urge you to donate to keep Serial going.
I heard today (what was mentioned in the chapter that came out yesterday) the penultimate chapter of this season. And therein the promise that this will be over in the next chapter. I can’t wait to find out what happens.
Here’s what I think: there is enough reasonable doubt there – based on everything we have heard so far – to conclude that Adnan should not have been incarcerated. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of opinions – and I know you have one – it is clear to me from the way the information has been presented in the podcast that there were many holes in the prosecution’s case.
I think that the conclusion will likely have some action whereby Adnan gets released from prison. At least I hope he does. He does not come across as someone who would have committed the murder – from the profile of him presented by the many folks who come in and out of the podcast’s narrative. There are also events that occur in the case where it seems logistically impossible for him to have done it. And he has firmly stuck to his position of not being guilty of the crime.
He seems to be very level-headed in his interactions with Sarah during the serial – and focused to a fault to present the facts and his view-point of the events. He seems to have had a lot of time to think about it – and indeed reflect on what it means to be characterized as a murderer by friends and people in his community. He has had to live with the thoughts about what this has done to his family. I think 15 years of prison time – for a crime he probably did not commit is enough – don’t you? Imagine for a second that he is indeed innocent and put yourself in his place – how would you deal with that? With the knowledge that you were unjustly imprisoned for a crime you did not commit. Yeah.
In a way – the millions of people who have been listening to the podcast have a juror’s view of the case. A lot of information has been covered, a lot of character profiles have been put forth and holes in the prosecution’s case have been laid bare. As a juror would you say – again, beyond a reasonable doubt – that Adnan murdered Hae Min Lee? I honestly couldn’t. Not beyond a reasonable doubt. I believe that we have just been through a very public re-hearing of the case (albeit in a most engaging manner that is nothing like the tedium of being an actual juror in a court case) and if the overwhelming majority of the population (jury?) feels the way I feel, we have to come back with a verdict of Not Guilty (with apologies for time served?) and give Adnan the opportunity to re-assimilate back into public life.
Like I said – my thoughts on this case probably didn’t surprise you. And if I was right about that, you likewise feel the way I do. In any case, I can’t wait to see how justice prevails in the conclusion next week.