The release of Adnan Syed from Maryland State Prison
By Brian Humenuk, COPJOT Police Notebooks and Pens - October 28, 2022
If by chance you missed it or maybe you have never even heard of the case State of Maryland vs. Adnan Syed, he was released from prison this past week after a motion to vacate was granted by Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Melissa M. Phinn, effectively setting him free.
Adnan Syed's case was the center of a popular podcast "Serial" with host and journalist Sarah Keonig, who was a former reporter for the Baltimore Sun. For the more senior police officers reading this we know the Baltimore Sun newspaper as the focal point of season 5 of the hit TV drama "The Wire". OK long time ago, but it showed the true talent of the reporters working there and the show was created, written and head produced by David Simon who was a journalist for the Baltimore Sun newspaper. So, I have a lot of respect for Sarah Keonig.
If you haven't listened to the Season 1 podcast "Serial" you are absolutely missing something huge. Host Sarah Keonig was given a tip that she should look into a murder case from 1999 where a man by the name of Adnan Syed was doing hard time in a Maryland State Prison and..........he didn't do it. So, Sarah Keonig set out to investigate the tip using all of her resources and as she goes step by step, she recorded a podcast. Sarah does an excellent job, no she does an insane job with the investigation and the producing team goes above and beyond with the fact checking, theories, partnering with expert criminal justice professionals and even the music is super catchy!
This is one of those stories where you can know the ending, he got out of prison, but the case starting from day 1 all the way to September 19, 2022, is extremely interesting and just sucks you right in. It's about 10 hours and 16 episodes. Believe me you will keep hitting the play button on the next episode.
I think a lot about police culture, police misconduct, prosecutorial misconduct, judicial misconduct and just about any misconduct or corruption in the criminal justice system. This case just stabs at the heart of all that is good with the criminal justice system. This case is one of the many reasons why I tell police officers and detectives to be very careful doing their job. We carry a huge amount of responsibility and authority. Used wrongly whether maliciously or not, it can destroy another human being life.
In this case there was a lot of talk about the pre police unrecorded interview with the states star witness "Jay". The elephant in the room is what was exactly said and conversed about between the two detectives and "Jay" during this time. Sarah tells us that this pre interview is where the sketchy details are ironed out before the actual nuts and bolts are put on recorded record. There are many things that went wrong with this case, as you will see when you binge this podcast, but I keep going back to the pre police interview with "Jay". I just can't get past it and it is dwelling on me.
The true victim here in this story is Hae Min Lee who disappeared after school in January of 1999. She was found deceased by a college maintenance worker in a Baltimore park. Shortly after Hea was found Detectives started filling up their Police Notebooks and Police Notepads with information. The information that was written down along with the witness interviews became crucial in the arrest, conviction and setting free of Adnan Syed. Give "Serial" Season 1 a listen and you won't be disappointed.