will a podcast soon clear a person convicted of murder?

A US prosecutor on Wednesday (September 14th) asked to overturn the conviction of a man detained for more than 20 years for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, which he has always denied, an unexpected twist in a case at the heart from the hit “Serial” podcast. The prosecutor of the city of Baltimore, on the east coast of the United States, explained to doubt the guilt of Adnan Syed, 42, after discovering the existence of “two alternative suspects”, specified his services in a communicated.

In an appeal transmitted to a magistrate who will have the last word, Marilyn Mosby has also requested the release of the convict. “To keep Adnan Syed in detention while we continue our investigation, when we no longer have confidence in the conclusions of the first trial, would be unfair”, she pleaded.

This intervention revives the case opened in 1999 when the body of Hae Min Lee, an 18-year-old girl, was found half buried in a wood in Baltimore. A year later, her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was sentenced to life imprisonment. According to the prosecution, he had not supported that she left him for another and had strangled her. He has always proclaimed his innocence, claiming to be the victim of anti-Muslim prejudice.

A superficial working lawyer

In 2014, a team of journalists conducted a counter-investigation, told in twelve episodes in the first season of “Serial” (available here, in English). A precursor to the era of podcasts, this radio soap opera has, according to its producers, been downloaded more than 300 million times. It also inspired an HBO documentary.

The investigation by Serial journalists had shown that Adnan Syed’s lawyer had neglected a mobile phone expertise favorable to the accused, as well as the testimony of a young girl who offered him a potential alibi. Their work led to a reopening of the case and in March 2018, a Maryland appeals court ordered a new trial, finding that the lawyer had provided “ineffective assistance” to her client.

In March 2019, the Supreme Court of Maryland had recognized that the lawyer had been wrong not to present certain elements, but had estimated that “given the totality of the evidence”, the verdict would not have been different if she included them. She had therefore refused the organization of a new trial. Adnan Syed’s defense then turned to the Supreme Court. In 2019, she refused to intervene, which seemed to put an end to her hopes of release.

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