This American death
November 7, 2015 11:19 AM   Subscribe

Adnan Syed’s case is being reopened. NPR's Serial Podcast, formerly discussed abouts these parts, seems to have finally precipitated the state of Maryland to allow a new examination of the case, considering new evidence stemming from the podcast series and following events. The Guardian's post-podcast rundown.
posted by allkindsoftime (101 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not NPR. Serial is a production of WBEZ and This American Life.
posted by Alex Goldman at 11:52 AM on November 7, 2015 [36 favorites]


I followed this case pretty closely and listened to most of Undisclosed and read a lot about the case. I finished Serial basically in the same place as Sarah Koenig. I didn't think there was adequate evidence to convict Adnan, but absent massive police and prosecutorial corruption, Adnan still remained the most likely suspect in my mind.

After listening to Undisclosed, which I do have some issues with in general, especially when it comes to the often excessively confident inferences Rabia draws from the evidence, I think Adnan is almost certainly innocent and Jay likely knows nothing about Hae Min Lee's murder. My guess is Jay called the crime stoppers number after her murder either for the cash or to get Adnan in trouble or both and fell down a rabbit hole where the only way to claw his way out was to testify against Adnan however the cops told him too. I now realize that the whole massive police and prosecutorial corruption theory wasn't some far flung conspiracy theory, but a viable possibility I should have considered from the get go.

As for who actually killed Hae Min Lee, we may never know. It seems increasingly likely some type of random killing or a serial killer.
posted by whoaali at 11:54 AM on November 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


That's good to hear. Observing the different communities that rose up in response to Serial has been revealing. The communities who are for Syed's innocence--or at least a re-examination of the case--tend to pull out kinds of bits and pieces of minute data about cell phone technology and whatnot. Meanwhile the arguments of the communities convinced of his guilt tend to boil down to "Yes, but Muslim."
posted by schroedinger at 11:56 AM on November 7, 2015


Did they ever craft a credible motive for Adnan to have done this other than that they dated? I listened to Serial when it came out but it's fuzzy now. They didn't, right?

I'm so glad it's the cell tower "information" that's caused this. It was crap science and you know the jury probably ate it up as oh my god he was right there!
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:59 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile the arguments of the communities convinced of his guilt tend to boil down to "Yes, but Muslim."

This is not at all my experience from the Serial podcast subreddit. Where are you seeing that argument?
posted by andoatnp at 11:59 AM on November 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


It should be noted, this is not a new trial. The Md Court of Special Appeals agreed in to re-open Adnan's appeal of a lower court ruling that denied his request for a new trial to introduce evidence related to the Asia McClain alibi and the incoming call cell tower location issue.
posted by peeedro at 12:02 PM on November 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yes, that was part of Jay's testimony at one or both trials.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:09 PM on November 7, 2015


I want to believe.

You want to believe that Adnan is responsible? Or you want to believe that nobody will ever know who did it? I'm plum cornfused.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:34 PM on November 7, 2015


3 and 4 are dependent on Jay, which.... go at your own risk. Re: 5 - it was a map not just of Leakin Park but lots of the area - it happened to include Leakin Park. And other fingerprints were found in the car as well, iirc.

I'm not sayng Adnan is innocent - probably, but who knows? - but I do believe that this is a case of the police chasing a prosecution rather than chasing justice or the truth.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 12:50 PM on November 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile the arguments of the communities convinced of his guilt tend to boil down to "Yes, but Muslim."

Or, "Yes, but statistically a massive proportion of murdered women are killed by their boyfriend or a recent ex." That's really what has me thinking that, as messed up as the whole investigation and prosecution was, Adnan is probably guilty. Because Occam's Razor and all.

(Pretty much the only other suspect I'd be open to is Don, for the same reason -- though he has less motive.)
posted by Sara C. at 12:53 PM on November 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


I am glad to see Maryland reopening the case though, to clarify. The travesty of justice warrants that much, no matter who is guilty.
posted by Sara C. at 12:54 PM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I find the idea of "wanting" him to be innocent (or guilty) a bit odd, I'll admit. But if I really think about it, I guess I'd hope that he's actually guilty. That means the system works (however flawed the route was to get there), and that a murderer was sent to prison for taking someone else's life. The alternative -- that Adnan's life was ruined for no reason, and that a murderer got away -- I don't like that alternative. But honestly the only thing I really want is to know what happened. Unfortunately, I'm resigned to the fact that is just never going to be possible, absent a number of people changing their stories.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:54 PM on November 7, 2015


The aspect that always struck me as most problematic was the way that the police gave Jay about a hundred chances to refine his story to fit the physical evidence they presented him with. It's been awhile since I listened to Serial and I'm paraphrasing horribly here, but I was really bothered by how the police would call him up repeatedly and ask "are you sure it wasn't like this?" or "we're having trouble figuring out how x lines up with y, what do you think?" kind of stuff. As a result, his testimony struck me as not credible at all, especially given how many times he changed his story in response to these repeated calls and interviews.
posted by dialetheia at 1:02 PM on November 7, 2015 [30 favorites]


I think Adnan did it. The evidence makes it seem like he's the most likely suspect. But that's just a belief, there's no way I (or anybody else) can definitively prove it. Which is the problem: there really wasn't enough evidence for him to be convicted. It makes for an unsatisfying conclusion: Adnan's guilty but he shouldn't have been found guilty in a court of law.
posted by mokin at 1:02 PM on November 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


No. 1 is really just your opinion and not one I particularly share.
No. 2 similarly doesn't mean much and others also didn't call.
No. 3 & 4 are uncorroborated.
No. 5 doesn't mean much as they dated and he had been in her car many times.
posted by whoaali at 1:03 PM on November 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


The police did a shitty, shitty job, and Jay's story changed a lot. That made Jay a really bad person to be the center of the State's case; it doesn't necessarily mean that Jay's basic story was false.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:06 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I personally don't care if he did it or not, the most compelling story on the podcast was how shitty his representation and trial were, and he totally deserves a revisit of that process. He should never have gone to jail based on that trial. Plenty of reasonable doubt.
posted by sweetkid at 1:07 PM on November 7, 2015 [37 favorites]


That means the system works (however flawed the route was to get there)

The system is the "route to get there" though.
posted by sweetkid at 1:11 PM on November 7, 2015 [11 favorites]


To revisit an opinion about the OJ Simpson case, this might be an example of the police trying to frame a guilty suspect.
posted by andoatnp at 1:15 PM on November 7, 2015 [6 favorites]


No, no, no, I'm not defending the system. At all. I shouldn't have said it "works" -- that's not what I meant. I meant instead that the system may have stumbled to the correct decision, even if it did so incorrectly and by abusing its authority.

What I am trying to say is that at this point, after everything that has happened, what would I want the outcome to be (since the idea of wanting Adnan to be innocent has come up)? Well, I certainly don't want it be that an innocent man was sent to jail, his life ruined, and that a murderer went free. In an ideal world, I'd want the original trial to have been based on facts and physical evidence, I'd want Adnan's attorney to be healthy and capable, and I'd want resolution. That ain't the world we live in, though.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 1:17 PM on November 7, 2015


Jay led the cops to the girl's car, no? Parts of his testimony certainly seem to have been coached, and the overall timeline of the afternoon it seems makes no sense no matter who you believe. However, IIRC from Serial, there was testimony from people who knew him that he seemed freaked out after the murders. And he knew where to find the car.

If Jay did know where to find the car, than either him or Adnan committed the murder, it seems like. Of the two, Adnan's motive made more sense to me --- Jay barely knew the victim, IIRC.

I guess the alternative would be that the cops found the car, didn't tell anyone about it, and then coached Jay into "showing" them its location? I'm certainly willing to believe that the cops thought Adnan did it and were massaging the evidence to fit that.

Instinctively, though, it strikes me as implausible that even corrupt cops would keep the location of the car a secret for this purpose. The car was their best chance of finding physical evidence to connect any killer to the crime --- the killer would at least have to have driven it, would almost certainly have had the body in there at some point, and there was a strong chance that she was actually killed inside it. If the cops find the car, the first thing they do is call forensics, even if they do already believe Adnan's the killer. And how likely is it that it would be these two detectives that would find the car just randomly? If anybody else find the car, a regular patrol officer, a member of the public, then there'd be some kind of record of it getting called in which would have to be covered up, etc.

I dunno, often times things that seem highly implausible in the abstract make sense when you know the actual, concrete circumstances. Maybe in real life in 1999 there was some good reason why the detectives on the case would be the first to locate the car and for them to be certain that it would be more useful to them to frame Adnan than to actually find physical evidence, and for them to therefore decide to keep it a secret until they could bring Jay out there.

But the city had already told the public that they were looking for the car. Occom's razor-wise, it seems a lot simpler to believe that Jay led them to it, that that was one of the reasons they were so ready to believe him. If Jay knows where the car is then he knows something about the crime, and then it comes down to him and Adnan.
posted by Diablevert at 1:25 PM on November 7, 2015 [9 favorites]



No, no, no, I'm not defending the system. At all. I shouldn't have said it "works" -- that's not what I meant. I meant instead that the system may have stumbled to the correct decision, even if it did so incorrectly and by abusing its authority.


That makes sense. I wasn't trying to call you out, the system is just so overall fucked up that it's frustrating. In design a lot of it is commendable, but in practice it's a shitshow.
posted by sweetkid at 1:38 PM on November 7, 2015


I would argue that anyone convinced of Adnan's guilt after Serial really owes it to themselves to listen to Undisclosed before making up their mind. I share some of whoaali's concerns about Undisclosed, but that podcast has provided not just a slim bit of reasonable doubt, but overwhelming evidence that everything about the state's case fails to add up. And after the events of the past year, does anyone really put it past the Baltimore PD to misuse evidence, bully witnesses, etc.? Undisclosed makes a very compelling case that all of that happened in the Lee investigation, and that Adnan had nothing to do with her murder.
posted by liam665 at 1:41 PM on November 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


I find it both interesting and extremely frustrating that most people who think that Adnan definitely did it seem so proud of their own ability not to be duped by someone they consider to be a criminal - so proud of their resistance to presumed liberal naivetee -- and yet apparently lack similar skepticism when it comes to both a) an accomplice (Jay); and b) the actions of the state (i.e. prosecutors and police officers with incentives to wrap up the case quickly and neatly).
posted by likeatoaster at 1:45 PM on November 7, 2015 [17 favorites]


The thing is, it doesn't matter whether he did it or not. What matters is whether he got a fair trial and deserves to be convicted.

Keep in mind that part of the reason that Asia didn't come forward earlier seems to have been because she was afraid that he might be guilty... which is to say, letting your own judgments of potential guilt or innocence color the case actually makes it harder for the system to function in a fair, ethical manner.

Guilty people are sometimes set free, and that's okay, because it's the least bad, unjust outcome.
posted by markkraft at 1:45 PM on November 7, 2015 [19 favorites]


That's really what has me thinking that, as messed up as the whole investigation and prosecution was, Adnan is probably guilty.

Those last two words should never appear together.
posted by Etrigan at 2:00 PM on November 7, 2015 [12 favorites]


I won't speak for others but personally I feel like part of me wants to believe that Adnan is innocent, because if he isn't that would make me feel like I was played for a fool for believing him. But I'd rather be a coward and a fool who could be tricked by a psychopath than the alternative, I guess.

The whole thing is so painful. Hae's poor family. And as much as I ardently believe in the importance of due process, the thought of an innocent man going free because of a mistrial is a much more palatable narrative than a murderer going free because of a mistrial.

Even deeper, I want to believe he's innocent because I don't want to believe that a sympathetic human being could do something like this. In the end, though, someone killed Hae and if I were to spend a few hours reading about their life history, I'd probably find them sympathetic, too. Ugh. We want to believe that these kinds of acts are committed by serial killers and monsters, not everyday people who seem like our friends or family.

I don't know whether Adnan did it, but there was enough doubt on the case that he should not have been convicted. The police's coaching of Jay is the most problematic factor imo.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 2:01 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would argue that anyone convinced of Adnan's guilt after Serial really owes it to themselves to listen to Undisclosed before making up their mind.

Keeping in mind that one of the hosts of Undisclosed is Adnan's cousin and the main person trying to get him exonerated. It is in no way an unbiased look at the case.
posted by Sara C. at 2:01 PM on November 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


The thing is, it doesn't matter whether he did it or not. What matters is whether he got a fair trial and deserves to be convicted.

Both things matter. I think he should get a new trial, and if there is insufficient evidence he should be set free. But I think there's at least a six-square box here of guilt vs. innocence, fair vs. unfair trial and conviction vs. acquittal. Guilty man has fair trial and is convicted, innocent man has far trial and is acquitted are the two ideal outcomes. Guilty man has fair trial and is acquitted is better than innocent man has unfair trial and is convicted, but it's not ideal.
posted by Diablevert at 2:03 PM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Mod note: A few comments deleted; maybe better to skip the armchair psych diagnoses.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:11 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know what podcast(s) anyone listened to who's convinced one way or another about Adnan's involvement in the murder.

I am, however, convinced that if, based on the cases presented, there was no reasonable doubt, then any of us could be found guilty for just about anything once the police and prosecution decide it will be thus. That is crazy and scary.

Personal theory time: Adnan is lying about some things, Jay is lying about just about everything, and nothing about what the relationships between Adnan, Jay, and Stephanie add up (Adnan and Jay aren't that close, but he's gotta scuttle around town to make sure Jay gets Stephanie a birthday present? wtf?). It's also my personal gut reaction listening to Adnan that he didn't, at least personally, kill Hei.

So, why would Adnan lie in the face of being prosecuted for murder? Either there's a third person, probably a more organized and connected drug dealer who they all fear who was the one who killed Hei when she interrupted a big-boy-sized drug deal, or Stephanie (who is strangely unhelpful through all this) killed her for any of a number of reasons and they're both covering for her.

That's the theory I use to derive some satisfaction from an enticing story with incomplete information, but I of course know it's wild speculation.
posted by cmoj at 2:13 PM on November 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


As long as we're spouting theories: Jay and Adnan were gay lovers, and Hae was killed, either for uncovering that secret in the first place, or for threatening to expose it. Ties up a few things rather neatly.
posted by fragmede at 2:19 PM on November 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Or, "Yes, but statistically a massive proportion of murdered women are killed by their boyfriend or a recent ex." That's really what has me thinking that, as messed up as the whole investigation and prosecution was, Adnan is probably guilty. Because Occam's Razor and all.

Omigod never serve on a jury.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:20 PM on November 7, 2015 [43 favorites]


Isn't it probable that Sarah Koenig killed Hae, and is using the podcast to taunt the police? Frankly, it seems like the most likely possibility from my vantage point, of someone who listened to a podcast
posted by Greg Nog at 2:27 PM on November 7, 2015 [82 favorites]


Adnan and Jay aren't that close, but he's gotta scuttle around town to make sure Jay gets Stephanie a birthday present? wtf?

This is one of the few aspects of the account that makes total sense to me. Teenagers have very poor filters when it comes to saying no or getting out of a social situation you don't want to be in. I did so many things around 16-18 because I couldn't see a way of getting out of it with my social standing intact. Even things that were shady, illegal, or that I just plain didn't want to do. Especially as one of the few kids with a car in a largely working class/lower-middle-class social circle. It was incumbent upon me to drive people to places I wasn't supposed to be, for the thinnest of reasons.

(I also personally don't buy that Jay and Adnan "weren't that close", because I think there are a lot of complicated social reasons teenage boys downplay friendships. Beyond all the murder witnessing body burying stuff.)
posted by Sara C. at 2:30 PM on November 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


Anyone willing to diagnose someone here should really... Not do that. If you are interested in learning more about how children with behavioral disorders are spotted and diagnosed, you can read this NYT article that I think is a good entry point. link

If a child had a severe disorder, it is extremely unlikely they could get through the school system without a record due to the difficulty school rules, regulations and "social norms" that exist let alone that people liked the person as they seemed to like Adnan.

Sorry to ramble, I find the very common and casual tossing off he's (or any suspected/convicted criminal not fitting a certain expectation) a sociopath pretty harmful to people with mental illness like it can be some sort of evil superpower. There's no evidence of that in this case. This is why people keep equating mass shootings with mental illness.

I am descending from my soapbox. Thank you.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 2:39 PM on November 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


Well here's what I think happened: [a bunch of stuff people have stated and discussed endlessly before, nothing new, trying to make sense of it, grasping for straws, yelling into a well to hear our voice echo back at us, shame for posting yet more conjecture about the day that destroyed a family, can't help ourselves]
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:40 PM on November 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


IIRC crime labs around the country and even the FBI have been caught up in a massive scandal where investigators have been caught making up all kinds of positive matches to get convictions.
If the prosecutors were willing to hide the fact that at&t had told them their cell phone evidence was not reliable, finding a magic fingerprint found on a map doesn't seem like much of a stretch.
posted by humanfont at 2:52 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jay is the weirdest figure in that case, at least the way Koenig presents it. My favorite theory is that Jay was a police informant, possibly with the FBI or some other semi-secretive weird alphabet-soup government agency, possibly involved in some kind of drug sting operation, but maybe with darker overtones involving the criminal underworld of Baltimore. It would go a long way toward explaining why he acts so weird throughout the investigation. Jay couldn't reveal where he actually was or what he was doing during that time because it was top secret FBI business and to do so would compromise a larger investigation, even if it would exonerate Adnan. I love this story, even though I know it is very unlikely, and I have chosen to interpret all further Serial news through this wonderfully X-Files-colored lens.
posted by deathpanels at 2:56 PM on November 7, 2015


Keeping in mind that one of the hosts of Undisclosed is Adnan's cousin and the main person trying to get him exonerated. It is in no way an unbiased look at the case.

Be careful about separating your opinions about Adnan and what happened 17 years ago with your opinions about who and how the case is being discussed now. I see many folk on discussion boards or the Serial sub-Reddit justify their acceptance or non-acceptance of "facts" presented based on their impression of the people who are out there now presenting one side or another, or based on how motivated or un-motivated they presume the presenters to be. The American legal system is by its nature confrontational, each side is biased from the beginning, and the jury is supposed to make a decision on the evidence anyway. Dismissing (or devaluing) Undisclosed because Rabia has a strong personal opinion of innocence would be like a jury just ignoring the defense arguments because "of course defense lawyers will say anything". Consider the message, not the messenger is what I'm saying.

Personally, I value the information presented on Undisclosed because the three hosts (all lawyers) do a really good job of being clear when they are discussing facts or legal issues and when they are discussing opinions or interpretations. It has a vibe very much like the Blue - there is definitely a focus on some objective topic or point of interest, but there is also room to agree or disagree about the significance.
posted by dness2 at 2:56 PM on November 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


What's up with calling people with their first names? I mean, save for the issue of whether to use the first or last name to refer to Korean and Arabic people. I wouldn't call that witness "Jay"; he's "Jay Wilds", "Wilds" or "Mr. Wilds".
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 3:04 PM on November 7, 2015


What's up with calling people with their first names?

It's not a conspiracy. People call him Jay because the podcast only ever called him Jay, presumably as a way to respect his privacy. It was Rabia who first disclosed his last name.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:06 PM on November 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


Because that's how the people were presented in Serial.
posted by dness2 at 3:06 PM on November 7, 2015


I think that Mailchimp set this all up, killing Hae Min Lee years ago, then giving Sarah Koenig subliminal cues to start a podcast about the murder, thus giving them super cheap publicity.

If you look at all the evidence, you'll see this makes the most sense.
posted by jeather at 3:07 PM on November 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


The podcast calls everyone by their first names, probably because in interviews, the people involved did so. It's hard to have a podcast where you call someone Mr. Wilds but then cut to interview audio where the speaker keeps mentioning someone named "Jay."

Also, Serial plays really hard on the fact that most of the people involved in the case were teenagers. It's one of the ways of getting the listener to sympathize with Adnan (he's described in the first few minutes of the first episode as a "nice kid", straight A student, track star, well-liked, etc.), and one of the main points of shared understanding for the show's thirtysomething demographic.

Serial just wouldn't have worked as a piece of entertainment if it was the story of Mr. Syed and his friends Ms. Lee and Mr. Wilds.
posted by Sara C. at 3:20 PM on November 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


There's only three scenarios, but only one of them is realistic.

1. Adnan did it.
2. Adnan and Jay did it, meaning that Jay is a criminal genius, an Olivier-class actor, and Adnan is the victim of one of the most colossally fucked-up set of circumstances ever.
3. Somebody else did it, and Adnan is the victim of one of the most colossally fucked-up set of circumstances ever.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:20 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


It was Rabia who first disclosed his last name.

Cite please? Not to pick on you but this kind of assertion impugnes Rabia's judgement and should be thrown down only if warranted. It's been a while now that his last name has been common knowledge, but I seem to recall it came out because of publicly available transcripts and social media detectives. Rabia didn't use his last name until it was already being used elsewhere.
posted by dness2 at 3:21 PM on November 7, 2015


What's up with calling people with their first names? I mean, save for the issue of whether to use the first or last name to refer to Korean and Arabic people.

I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to refer to Arabs as "Arabic." Also, Adnan isn't Arab, despite the fact that his terrible lawyer referred to him as such because eh Muslims I guess.

Also yea, that's how they're referred to in the podcast and it's a reflection of the fact that they're talked about as kids, and the familiarity Koenig feels with them as she gets into the story.
posted by sweetkid at 3:27 PM on November 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Cite please?

I followed Rabia on Twitter the day after I listened to the first episode of Serial (the day it was released). One of her posts in the days after the first episode was a PDF of an official court order (I forget for what), and on it was Jay's full name. After she was called out on it, she deleted the post. Of course, by that time, it had migrated to Reddit. I doubt she'd deny if she was asked about it.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:27 PM on November 7, 2015


4. Somebody else did it, and Adnan is a victim of the relatively mundane and routine reality of the criminal justice system in America (i.e. coerced confessions, sloppy investigations, racism, various teenagers telling half-truths to mask their weed habits, etc.)
posted by likeatoaster at 3:30 PM on November 7, 2015 [33 favorites]


No, sorry, this is anything but mundane. You're asking me to believe in supervillains.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:32 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


most colossally fucked-up set of circumstances ever

You've got police Lieutenants staging their own suicides in Illinios to avoid facing the consequences of years of fraud, you've got an epic number of drug cases messed up in two other states because the forensic technicians were falsifying tests and abusing drugs themselves, you've got people being exonerated even though they've already been executed based on the debunking of old-school "arson science", you've got a prosecutor in Texas going to jail for knowingly sitting on exculpatory evidence, and you have a WHOLE office of prosecutors in California being held to account for rampant corruption.

Do you really think this situation requires the words "most colossally" and "ever" to have created a no-win situation for Adnan?
posted by dness2 at 3:34 PM on November 7, 2015 [34 favorites]


You've got police Lieutenants staging their own suicides in Illinios to avoid facing the consequences of years of fraud

Sounds like a supervillain to me

This is some real Lex Luthor shit
posted by Greg Nog at 3:37 PM on November 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


No, sorry, this is anything but mundane. You're asking me to believe in supervillains.

The criminal justice system in this country is frequently fucked up and arbitrary. Sorry that it bugs you, but it's true.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:37 PM on November 7, 2015 [23 favorites]


Using informal names makes the characters seem more relatable. It also helps keep us within Koenig's perspective as she tries to just figure out what happened -- you might notice that she frequently breaks in with her own hand-wringing throughout the series, which is atypical for a crime story. It's just a choice the producers made.
posted by deathpanels at 3:41 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


After she was called out on it, she deleted the post.

So, you're right. Thank you. It's not an unwarranted remark. I'm just tetchy because she seems to be held to impossible standards of "proper behavior by an advocate for someone she believes innocent" in some circles. It's like everything is sinister and based on bad character - not a mistake or an oversight or a normal burst of emotion. It's like, what is someone supposed to do if they think someone else got a raw deal?
posted by dness2 at 3:44 PM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I avoided Serial for a long time, as I've had my own interactions with the justice system that also resulted in a family member going to prison for life for something he didn't do, and for which there is no physical evidence. His attorney also called no witnesses, interviewed not one of the people our family asked them to interview, and allowed both the prosecutor and judge to say incredibly wrong and prejudicial things they never should have been allowed to say.

But after Serial, I realised that the reason I avoided it should have been the reason I championed it: Adnan was in no way given a just sentence. And his case shows just how far police and prosecutors will go to get a case off the books.

I also have listened to all of Undisclosed, as well as the Truth and Justice Podcast (formerly Serial Dynasty) and have been shocked by what has been uncovered. Anyone seriously interested in this case should do the same. Rabia Chaudry is NOT Adnan's cousin. She is a friend of the family, and her younger brother was one of Adnan's best friends. Using the terms Auntie and Uncle are ones of respect within their community. But the other two lawyers on Undisclosed have no relation to the family. And they are the ones who have found the most important evidence in this case. The host of Truth and Justice is a fire chief who investigates fires, and also has no relation to any of the family or witnesses in the case.

Susan Simpson discovered the Crimestoppers tip. She also noticed that there was odd tapping during police interviews; it happened every single time Jay got something wrong in the story. As it turns out, Jay was given both a labelled map and a timeline of HIS OWN TESTIMONY by the detectives. When he couldn't remembered or deviated from the testimony they wanted, there would be tapping, and he would suddenly recall the information in great detail. He was also promised many times that his cooperation would mean he wouldn't be charged. Well, he WAS charged, and given a lawyer by the prosecutor. Something that is incredibly shady, and was probably a result of Jay not wanting to continue to testify against Adnan. They needed something to hold over him, and by having charges that would only be dismissed if he testified as the prosecutor wanted, they had leverage against him.

Then you take the cell phone evidence - the prosecutor used only a FEW of the pings out of hundreds because those suited his case. Now even the cell phone expert refutes his testimony and says that if he had known about the cover sheet from AT&T, he NEVER would have testified for the prosecution.

Then you take the alibi witnesses. Adnan's track coach remembers a conversation with him that the Undisclosed team discovered could only have happened on ONE day: the day of Hae Min Lee's death. It was the only warm day of track practice during Ramadan. The coach remembers talking to Adnan about Ramadan, and also said that Adnan was there on time and left on time that day. Asia McClain's story - also a source of the prosecutor's perjury - accounts for the time after school and before track practice.

That's why both podcasts have stated definitively that Adnan could not have killed Hae Min Lee. And that's to say nothing of Cristina Gutierrez' inept defence in court.

They have also uncovered the fact that Don's alibi was given by his mother and also confirmed by his stepmother. His timesheet document had been faked with a different employee ID than Don's. That means that not only is Don's time completely unaccounted for on the day of the murder, but that he had created his alibi before Hae Lee's body was found. Timesheets had to have been created during the week the work was completed. That was several weeks before Hae Lee was discovered. That means he has no alibi.

And the lividity evidence. Hae's body could not have been dumped in the same position in which she was buried because the physical evidence showed she had been left in a completely different position for long enough that lividity was fixed. She also couldn't have been "pretzeled up" in the trunk of her car the way Jay Wilds claimed.

There's more. A lot more. And they tell it better in Serial and T&J than I can.

Clearly this case means a lot to me, as it does for many others. It also is so clearly evidence for the completely fucking broken system of "justice" in the United States. I know I'm biased against police and detectives, but if you honestly spend the time listening to the entirety of the evidence, I'm not sure how anyone could convince Adnan.

I so hope that Adnan gets his new trial. I would be shocked if they chose to re-prosecute. The evidence sure doesn't support their claim that Adnan killed Hae.
posted by guster4lovers at 3:53 PM on November 7, 2015 [52 favorites]


I'm unclear on why we're all bound to respect Rabia and agree that she's valiantly doing the Lord's work here. To me, she has always seemed like someone who really, really doesn't want to believe her cousin did a bad thing. Which is fine. I don't think she's a bad person or anything. But I don't have any special respect for her any more than I do for Sarah Koenig (who I also think is not impartial and has issues with what she wants to think about someone she personally likes) or any other figure in the story. Which is all it really is to any of us, a story.
posted by Sara C. at 3:55 PM on November 7, 2015


That means that not only is Don's time completely unaccounted for on the day of the murder, but that he had created his alibi before Hae Lee's body was found.

Or, you know, that he showed up, worked, and that was that.

I'm not sure why we shouldn't be skeptical of Rabia's potentially having a jaundiced view, but be very very skeptical that Don's family members conspired to create an alibi for him. Relationships matter, or they don't, but that's applying a double standard.
posted by Miko at 3:59 PM on November 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


To revisit an opinion about the OJ Simpson case, this might be an example of the police trying to frame a guilty suspect.

I will grant you this perspective - the police did what they thought they had to get the right person in jail. I will also grant you the perspective that the police (and maybe even the prosecutors) in Adnan's case may have honestly believed and still believe that Adnan is the right person, as strongly as many believe that OJ was the right person and as some believe that the WM3 were the right people.

But you have to admit that there are going to be a range of possibilities that the police are correct, depending on the case we're talking about. And I will counter with the observation that the OJ Simpson case and Adnan's case have very different kinds of evidence and police work. My opinion is that OJ and Adnan may have been subject to the same kind of "ends justify the means" police work, but I do not believe that they deserved that kind of police confidence in their guilt in nearly the same way.
posted by dness2 at 4:04 PM on November 7, 2015


Not for nothing, but this thread seems like a good illustration of why mass incarceration is still a huge problem in the United States. Most thoughtful people agree that we shouldn't have so many people in prison. But when you look at a specific case -- in fact, a case much murkier than most -- even intelligent, thoughtful people somehow come up all "oh, he totally did it." I find this extremely sad.

And just to head off ignorance at the pass -- marijuana convictions do not put people in prison; violent crimes, thefts, and drug trafficking crimes bear the brunt of it (unless you count 7-10 day stints in the county jail). So if you consider yourself to be someone disgusted by mass incarceration, maybe consider that that position requires a skeptical eye on the micro level, not just the macro one.
posted by likeatoaster at 4:20 PM on November 7, 2015 [14 favorites]


So if you consider yourself to be someone disgusted by mass incarceration, maybe consider that that position requires a skeptical eye on the micro level, not just the macro one.

1000x this. Actual real intelligent human beings on an actual real jury looked me in the face and were willing to put a guy into prison because of Occam's Razor, rather than proof. Everyone wants to play detective.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:23 PM on November 7, 2015 [21 favorites]


That means that not only is Don's time completely unaccounted for on the day of the murder, but that he had created his alibi before Hae Lee's body was found.

Or, you know, that he showed up, worked, and that was that.

I'm not sure why we shouldn't be skeptical of Rabia's potentially having a jaundiced view, but be very very skeptical that Don's family members conspired to create an alibi for him. Relationships matter, or they don't, but that's applying a double standard.


1. Rabia is not a family member of Adnan's.
2. Rabia is not an alibi witness for Adnan.
3. Police did not investigate Don's alibi beyond what his mother told them.
4. The timesheet used in evidence showed a different employee number than the one Don had used his entire time at Lenscrafters. Which could only be created by a manager. Truth & Justice has had several people on the show who worked at Lenscrafters at that time, and have stated very clearly that this is NOT normal and should be treated as very suspicious.

Equating Rabia's involvement and Don's mother's involvement is bizarre and is a pretty massive misunderstanding of what I wrote and how the investigations from these podcasts have unfolded. Don's alibi has serious holes, whereas Adnan's alibi is supported by two people who had specific reason to remember that day.

I'm not saying that Don did it - I don't know him and he could be totally innocent. But you seriously can't see the possibility that someone else committed this murder? At the very least, doesn't it make sense to do what the police never did and actually investigate this case? And that investigation is NOT compromised because someone involved has known Adnan for most of his life. Yes, relationships matter.

But evidence matters more.
posted by guster4lovers at 4:25 PM on November 7, 2015 [18 favorites]


even intelligent, thoughtful people somehow come up all "oh, he totally did it."

For me, the question of mass incarceration is largely one of the sentence associated with a given crime. I don't hear a lot of people who think it's mostly folks who got caught with a quarter ounce of pot and nothing else who are filling prisons to bursting. I can both say "he totally did it" and "but his sentence should be short/served at home/suspended" etc.
posted by Miko at 4:25 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


you seriously can't see the possibility that someone else committed this murder?

Of course I can. Where do you see that I didn't? I'm pretty much continuing to wait to see if any more information surfaces. I can agree that it would have been better for the police to investigate Don more without thinking that the "Don reveal" is significant.
posted by Miko at 4:29 PM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


why we're all bound to respect Rabia and agree that she's valiantly doing the Lord's work here

We're not. By terming it "the Lord's work" you are helping my point; it's not about championing or not championing the person or their cause - it's about thinking about the facts and evidence that have been revealed. I never said I respect Rabia, much less put her on a pedestal, but I said that the information presented has been really useful and interesting to consider. I don't consider this just a story any more than history is a story. I value all sources of information about this case because I think piecing together the true history will have implications to the legal system, some of the people in the case and maybe to justice for Hae.

that's applying a double standard.

Well, remember this. Don or Don's family members created an alibi (or at least created proof of an alibi that otherwise had no proof) that altered the legal process and they did this 17 years ago. I understand the impulse, this is the reason that family members are always discounted as sources, but to my mind this is worse than lying or fibbing on the stand because the jury had no opportunity to take the source of this alibi into account. Rabia is a source of information now (she had no impact on the case back then) and does not hide her opinion or bias from us. So of course we should be equally sceptical but Rabia has a lot less wrong-doing to cover up. Luckily, we can triangulate on the information Rabia presents now so her opinions aren't the only ones to consider. Unluckily (or problematically), we can't triangulate on the information about Don's alibi so all we have right now is our scepticism.

This doesn't necessarily mean I think Don killed Hae by the way. I can see how the faulty timesheet might have started out as the equivalent of a forged school absence note and snow-balled from there. But it does highlight the huge problems with the investigation and the case against Adnan.

ETA: or you know, what guster4lovers said.
posted by dness2 at 4:33 PM on November 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Well, one demographic that is filling up prisons is individuals who were initially given probated sentences, and then had their probation revoked for minor missteps like possessing marijuana, failing to report a change of address, or even failing to obtain employment (as a convicted felon). In fact, approximately 35% of state prisoners are there for violations of probation or parole. Just focusing on shorter sentences or more flexible sentencing is not enough.
posted by likeatoaster at 4:34 PM on November 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


Sure, my point being the sentencing issue is more one of policy than thinking people are not guilty of the infractions they were sentenced for.

I can see how the faulty timesheet might have started out as the equivalent of a forged school absence note

Great. Then perhaps we can stop using phrases like "wrong-doing" or "created an alibi" when, in fact, we really have no idea why those timesheets are the way they are. Keeping an independent mind requires doing it in both directions.
posted by Miko at 4:40 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I haven't listened to all of the Undlisclosed stuff, but I have read the transcript of the episode they did on the finding of the car --- which also discusses the autopsy results --- and I'm clear on a couple things but really confused about something else:

Clear:
1) Hae's actual car was found

2) Sometime in the early morning on the day of the interview with Jay, the car was taken into the police forensics unit and evidence was collected from it

3) based on the autopsy results, the state's/Jays account of the timeline makes no sense whatsoever, and we have no real idea when, where, or how Hae was killed


Confused: Do the Undisclosed people accept that Jay led the cops to the car? Or do they think that was another thing that the cops hand-fed Jay?

As with the rest of his story, plenty of facts Jay interjects about the car make so sense and there's at least some reason to think the cops helped him polish them. But whoever and however Hae was killed, it had to have been her killer who ditched her car, right? If Jay knew where the car was then he knew something about the crime.

As for Adnan's soccer coach bolstering his alibi for portions of the afternoon, that's certainly another wrecking ball to the State's fairly-well-obliterated account of the crime. But based on the autopsy, we know that that's completely wrong, anyway. As far as i can tell, all that can be said for sure is that she died three or four weeks before the body was found, e.g. around the time she disappeared, and that before she was buried he body was left lying facedown for a significant period of time. There's nothing to say based on the medical evidence that she was even killed that afternoon, at this point.
posted by Diablevert at 4:51 PM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Keeping an independent mind requires doing it in both directions.

Right, and I weighed the evidence, have studied and thought about the timesheets in question, and listened to a bunch of different interpretations from sources all over the bias spectrum. And I believe the phrases "wrong-doing" and "creating an alibi" are appropriate. You may have no idea why those timesheets are the way they are, but I am convinced they're not legit. I agree however that "we" shouldn't be saying that the timesheets are proof of Don's guilt. Having an independent mind is not the same as never drawing conclusions.
posted by dness2 at 4:52 PM on November 7, 2015


I am convinced they're not legit

Thank you for acknowledging the direction of your bias. You have an interpretation, I understand, but it is not something we all must agree is convincing, because the evidence is completely insufficient.
posted by Miko at 4:54 PM on November 7, 2015


"Do the Undisclosed people accept that Jay led the cops to the car? Or do they think that was another thing that the cops hand-fed Jay?"

To my knowledge, the undisclosed people don't know. There are a bunch of theories floating around but no satisfactory evidence in either direction. But I am pretty sure that the undisclosed people would disagree with this conclusion (as do I), that if Jay knew where the car was then he knew something about the crime. Maybe, maybe not. Listen to the Undisclosed episode where the inmates talk about their impressions for an interesting interpretation. Jay wasn't on the streets himself, but he certainly was closely connected to people who were. It would have been possible for him to have found out where the car was without knowing specifically how it got there. That's why its another problematic piece of evidence.
posted by dness2 at 5:01 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Do the Undisclosed people accept that Jay led the cops to the car? Or do they think that was another thing that the cops hand-fed Jay?

I don't think they've taken a position other than it's a shame that this SUPER IMPORTANT thing wasn't better memorialized by the detectives in their notes, reports, and in the recorded interviews with Jay.

They do heavily imply that the lack of concrete documentation means there is an big opportunity for misconduct.
posted by peeedro at 5:05 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thank you for thanking me Miko, but I'm concerned about your emphasis on bias, like it's a dirty word. And maybe on aligning my interpretations with the bad forms of biases. I don't believe the evidence is completely insufficient to have an opinion - you do - and I don't think that's because either one of us is necessarily biased.
posted by dness2 at 5:07 PM on November 7, 2015


These people aren't characters; they're real people. Characters are knowable, because they're abstractions; in a novel, their actions will make sense. Baltimore teenagers who lived in 1999 don't have to make sense, and unless you knew them then, they're impossible to relate to.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:20 PM on November 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


I hear you, but over time, I have found myself wanting to grow more and more distanced from the degree of obsession, and the airs of certainty, that seem to accrete onto people who become deeply interested in this story - especially those with almost no direct experience in the professional worlds of law, criminal justice, crime reporting, evidence analysis, etc. Most such people are really reaching when they make statements with seeming gravitas that are really based on gut feelings about what's been presented to them, and seem also to be quite subject to interpretations suggested by their sources - which have also changed over time, showing how weak even those are. It seems to me we should be at least as cautious about running additional people into the justice system based only on hearsay and circumstance as we are about convicting those sitting directly in front of a jury, with people testifying against them - that is, extremely. There is very little evidence in this case, and that is the problem. It is impossible even for people who are very, very familiar with this material to produce an overwhelmingly convincing case - how much more so, then, for internet jockeys to do so? I find that the longer it goes on, the more concern I have about the hobbyists on this case - the hubris and lack of humility. So let me go on record as saying that I do have an opinion, and I do have a general theory, but I have come to believe in this as in all similar matters - and if I ever do sit on a capital jury - that it is a moral requirement that I hold it lightly in the absence of real evidence - because I don't know what happened, any better than anyone else who was not a witness to any of it, and the only thing that can convince me that any one of these many narratives is the truth is more evidence.
posted by Miko at 5:20 PM on November 7, 2015 [15 favorites]


How do the theories that claim Jay was not involved at all but was persuaded to lie about his involvement square with his recent behavior/testimony? If the prosecutors coerced him into providing false testimony, and he was just a scared kid who went along with it, then wouldn't he currently be either a) advocating for Adnan's release or b) not saying anything because he's scared (of someone else?) or ashamed of his complicity? Instead, he sought out a journalist in order to very emphatically state "No. Stop this shit. That motherfucker did it." I mean, obviously false and coerced confessions are a huge issue, but in other cases (I'm thinking of WM3 here), those false/coerced confessions were almost immediately disputed.

That's not a "gotcha" question meant to prove Adnan's guilt or anything -- I'm just wondering how the Undisclosed folks (and others who believe in a vast cover-up) fit Jay's recent claims and actions into the larger theory.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:31 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


This may be a case of cops framing a guilty man or the most incredibly unlucky ex boyfriend. The Jay part of the investigation is just crazy though. Maybe it was thru Rabia's tweet or maybe I just looked it up on my own, but the appeal with the state of Maryland was available online and after the first episode that was on TAL I looked up Jay in the Baltimore County court system. Surprisingly there were over 50 hits, but then almost all were for someone with the same name born in 1951. The elder Mr Wilds had a long record with the narcotics department.

I kind of forgot about that until listening to Undisclosed. At some point one of the attorneys wonders aloud at the use of subpoenas from the narcotics department occasionally instead of homicide later in the investigation. I looked at the arrest record again and have wondered ever since if once Jay came up in the investigation they felt they stumbled on a possible inroad into ongoing drug conspiracy cases, above and beyond what they saw as an open and close domestic murder. They have Jay as an accomplice to murder, and can hang that over him. He never has a lawyer when being questioned and when he finally does insist on one after the start of the trial a private attorney is hired for him by the prosecution, a very odd occurrence.

On Serial Sarah Koenig mentioned that Jay went all through the trial without any help from his family. At his sentencing the only person there on his behalf was his girlfriend. This seemed so tragic to me, after all he's just a kid. But then it occurred to me he may well have kept this from his family. Looking back at the court records, other family members have adequate legal representation, I'm sure his parents would have done the same for him with the threat of being found guilty of accomplice to murder.

Anyway there's a lot of things that don't add up. The cops sure treated Jay very oddly. I'd like to think that Rabia has not worked all these years in vain, but we will never know what really happened.
posted by readery at 5:36 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm just wondering how the Undisclosed folks (and others who believe in a vast cover-up) fit Jay's recent claims and actions into the larger theory.

I'm not one of the Undisclosed folks and I don't believe in a vast cover-up necessarily, but I'll tell you how I reconcile the many aspects of Jay.

First of all, you don't have to be persuaded or tricked into giving a false confession. Especially when it's a false witness statement. Jay could have had motivations to say what the cops wanted on his own that persist to this day. Jay was from a complicated family situation (see readery's point) and was not a stupid person. He was never actually arrested or held in jail even when he was giving all these incriminating statements. He was offered and took the plea deal something like 7 months after he first starting to talk to the cops. It seems to be possible that, although it's hidden to us, Jay could have had motivations to lie or go along with the story that would be extremely powerful and outside the events of Hae's death. If that's the case, they could still be in play today. I don't know what they are, but it seems possible.

Second, Jay's false confession was really a false witness statement (at least in the beginning). I've read the interview transcripts and it seems really possible from my reading that the police manipulate him into admitting to more and more crimes as it goes along. Then once he has said something, they have him over a barrel. The cops might have thought they were rightly getting the truth out of the interrogation, but in actuality whatever reason that Jay had to cooperate a little in the beginning was forcing him into deeper and deeper water at the end.

Third, I don't know if I could ever describe Jay as an honorable person (cue laughter), but I can read all the statements and transcripts and interviews and see someone who might lie and send someone else to jail and never come clean about it, but also who might feel that by telling yet more fantastical lies or embellishments he is trying to emphasize that he is a liar and not to be believed. So, perversely by telling more lies he has Adnan's back. I don't know, we're up to 8 trunk pop stories now? My take on Jay is that he might be saying to himself 'how many more am I going to have to make up for y'all to finally go away and leave me alone.' It's not his fault anyone believed him after all.

It's all the stories that make me think (and this is a gut feeling) that Jay is probably innocent of murdering Hae and very likely ignorant of who did - I feel like he would have been more consistent in the lies if he was really covering up his involvement. I don't know about the car thing though. I feel like he might have starting talking thinking that there was no way the cops would believe the stories he told, because they were truly unbelievable. And maybe by being so unbelievable he wasn't really screwing over Adnan. The Intercept interview helped to bring more attention to his many stories and in a way did Adnan's case a real favor. Without being a hero, Jay might have managed to do right in the end.

That's my take.
posted by dness2 at 6:28 PM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ive long suspected Don, but that could just be because I was a teenage girl who got mixed up with grown men who should have known better. No normal man dates children.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:31 PM on November 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, Hae was 18, not exactly a child, and Don was 20 or 21 I think. You could absolutely be right about emotional ages, but it's not so clearly wrong based on calendar ages.
posted by dness2 at 6:48 PM on November 7, 2015


And they worked together, which tends to break down that sort of difference.
posted by Miko at 6:57 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


see someone who might lie and send someone else to jail and never come clean about it, but also who might feel that by telling yet more fantastical lies or embellishments he is trying to emphasize that he is a liar and not to be believed. So, perversely by telling more lies he has Adnan's back. I don't know, we're up to 8 trunk pop stories now? My take on Jay is that he might be saying to himself 'how many more am I going to have to make up for y'all to finally go away and leave me alone.' It's not his fault anyone believed him after all.

I'm curious, have you met someone you felt was like this? Because....I've met a lot of liars, and I've told some lies. Pretty much every time, the person lying --- including myself --- was doing so in their own self-interest, and with the hope of being believed. No matter how dumb the lie was. Even me that time when I told my fifth grade teacher that my parents had kept me so busy doing chores that it was utterly impossible for me to have completed my math homework.

"I going to keep lying --- about a murder --- in the hope that my lies will get so ridiculous and so obvious that no one will believe anything I say, then they'll definitely leave me alone, because that's obviously what happens when you lie about your involvement in a murder," this makes no sense to me whatsoever. It feels like a conclusion you are forced into because in order for your other beliefs about the case to be true Jay can't be complicit.

I dunno, man, it's a big strange world and every single fact in this tale seems to dissolve into mist when you get close to it. I'm not trying to sit here claiming I know what happenned, and speculation about motive is clearly futile.
posted by Diablevert at 7:03 PM on November 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


Of course even if he is guilty, he has already served more time than most who commit the same crime. Does it really make sense to hold him for another 40 years? What do we as a a society get out of it?
posted by humanfont at 7:20 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


"but I have come to believe in this as in all similar matters - and if I ever do sit on a capital jury - that it is a moral requirement that I hold it lightly in the absence of real evidence"

I absolutely agree with you on this point. You can be on my jury :)
posted by dness2 at 7:23 PM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


it's a big strange world

Yes it is.

I have/do know a compulsive liar (assume normal caveats about armchair diagnoses). What is interesting to me about dealing with this person is that the lies and embellishments flow during low-stakes situations - I don't think she hopes to be believed because it honestly doesn't matter. She has her motivations I'm sure, but because they are things like attention, ego and maybe some self-worth they are things that most people have long outgrown. Most people who meet her believe what she says because most people (like you and me) just don't see how an adult could still need to be that way. And by the time they start to question things she's on to a new audience. There are certain politicians who are like this.

This person isn't exactly like I'm imagining Jay (and I don't know him and don't presume to say this is for sure). But the stories from Jay's friends describing him as fun and wildly unbelievable resonate with how I see my friend. She's a benign compulsive liar because she isn't really doing it to take advantage of anyone. But she does have a flexible mindset towards "truth" even in situations that would cross an ethical line for most of us. That I think is like Jay.

You add to that Jay's family and background. I've never been a minority from a minor Baltimore underworld family, but I've watched enough tv to know that a flexible mindset, if not antagonistically flexible mindset, towards "truth" especially when talking to cops is pretty much de rigueur if someone wants to reach middle age. It would be hard to know when anyone who is in the habit of lying to cops starts suddenly telling the truth. But it is especially hard when that person isn't even very truthy on the outside (according to all Jay's friends). It is easier for me to see a benign liar go absolutely crazy stringing the cops along until they realize, oh shit I'm in deep, than it is to see a benign liar develop a moral compass based on anything a cop says.

It is a strange, strange, strange world. But if it wasn't strange then this case wouldn't be so messed up.

PS. I didn't decide that Jay wasn't complicit (or develop my reasonable doubts as to his complicitness) until I read the transcripts of his first two statements. Jay was not high or brain-damaged at that moment, and yet what he says is just SO.STUPID and the detectives just ignore the stupidness that I can't imagine he isn't sitting there thinking that he's getting a load of bs over the cops. I wouldn't do that myself in that situation, but I read what he said and I almost don't blame him. The cops obviously thought he was lying anyway. Why would you bother saying anything that was true?
posted by dness2 at 8:22 PM on November 7, 2015


"I going to keep lying --- about a murder --- in the hope that my lies will get so ridiculous and so obvious that no one will believe anything I say, then they'll definitely leave me alone, because that's obviously what happens when you lie about your involvement in a murder," this makes no sense to me whatsoever.

This is how adolescents, children, juveniles behave when confronted with police interrogations all the time. There is an excess of literature--most of it used to successfully litigate into US law that juveniles cannot be executed nor automatically sentenced to life without parole--that shows this. Kids, even savvy older teenagers, do amazingly dumbshit things when questioned by the police. The things they say are baffling. It's mindboggling, especially when contrasted with other things they do that seem so competent, so on top of things.

In my no-longer-practicing-juvenile defense law opinion, these kids were actually acting completely consistently with how kids innocent of involvement in the murder would act.

Like Miko, I have my theories about the case but they are completely irrelevant to reality. But, as I said earlier this week here on Metafilter:

This comes up constantly in everything orthogonal to criminal law. People do not behave according to expectations: the falsely accused, the correctly accused, the victims, the witnesses. Even the police or the attorneys.

It damages every single step in the process. It's so frustrating. Everyone--from the cops, to the friends/family of the victim, other witnesses, the prosecutors, the defense attorneys, the judges, the jurors--they all believe that perpetrators or people accused of crimes or victims of crimes or witnesses to crimes behave Like This. Or that they personally Would Do This Thing in That Situation. And then the police, the attorneys, the fact finders cannot accept other behavior as truth or as proof of anything but lies or guilt.

The Innocence Project has done a lot to show us how this convicts innocent people. Again and again.


and that colors all my thinking on this case.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:17 PM on November 7, 2015 [30 favorites]


I don't think it's at all hard to explain Jay's recent behavior. He's doubling down. A lot of people do this when they get caught in a lie or a mistake. A lot of people just can't admit that they were wrong, ever.

He's acting like Bad Jackie.

If there's one thing I feel confident about in all this, it's that Jay was full of shit in 1999 and he's full of shit now. His stories don't make sense, and they aren't consistent, and they are way too convenient from the prosecution's perspective (and whenever they weren't, they changed.)

Whether that's because he himself believed Adnan was guilty (on slimmer evidence, that didn't satisfy the police) and wanted to help see justice done, or because he was just confused and scared and eager to please, and half believed his own stories, or to keep himself out of jail for this or other crimes, or what, I don't know. But whatever his reasons for fabricating evidence back then, it makes perfect sense to me that he we would be unwilling to humiliate himself (and possibly get himself in trouble) by admitting that.
posted by OnceUponATime at 4:59 AM on November 8, 2015


My (lightly held) theory is somewhat similar to what I think readery was thinking: that Jay's stories are inconsistent and confused because they were concocted with police, to fit the evidence submitted while omitting a set of other facts that has never been committed to record, in exchange for information Jay would have been able to provide regarding drug crime. The contradictions, etc., could result from the story being rehearsed and poorly remembered under stress. I think that is a simpler conjecture than that he is a sophisticated fantasist, and that it is sort of a "framing the right guy" theory.

This is one reason I think it's a fairly hopeless endeavor to use available material to try to dig out what really happened. What we would have needed to know is not on record and what has surfaced so far is nowhere near enough evidence to accuse any new suspects of murder. I think it may be possible to win a retrial for Syed, but such an event will not likely reveal more about what actually happened, but instead will seek to build a plausible-enough counternarrative (not dissimilar to his plausible-enough conviction narrative) and exonerate him based on how bad the original investigation and trial were.
posted by Miko at 6:58 AM on November 8, 2015


Remember that Hurricane Carter got a new trial due in large part to public sentiment, was convicted again, and years later was finally finally exonerated. This is a step in the right direction and may not have tge result that many of us hope for and that doesn't mean that the efforts should be dropped.
posted by janey47 at 7:17 AM on November 8, 2015


jeather: "I think that Mailchimp set this all up, killing Hae Min Lee years ago, then giving Sarah Koenig subliminal cues to start a podcast about the murder, thus giving them super cheap publicity.

If you look at all the evidence, you'll see this makes the most sense.
"

Nope. It was the Metafilter cabal. She discovered Cortex is actually a highly advanced Markov chain generator verging on self-awareness. The cabal knew she found out, so they rallied around our beloved leader Matt (who had actually programmed the project while trying to come up with a website to measure the caloric efficiency of recumbent versus non-recumbent bikes), as they figured the world was not ready for such a thing and then it would be torches and pitchfork time.

They turned Jay by making him a shadow mod.
posted by Samizdata at 8:33 AM on November 8, 2015


Crikey, I wish I could sleep!
posted by Samizdata at 8:34 AM on November 8, 2015


Everyone has suspicions about this story. The one I have is that both Adnan and the star witness are covering for someone more frightening.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:41 PM on November 8, 2015


Jay's stories are inconsistent and confused because they were concocted with police

How to explain Jay leading them to the car, then? That they told Jay where the car would be?
posted by cell divide at 5:41 PM on November 8, 2015


No. You misunderstand me. My interpretation (again, this is just a speculation, but one that has yet to be ruled out by any new information) is that Jay had some involvement in or with the murder, as witness before or after the fact and/or as participant. He really did know where the car was and he really did know what happened, and that Adnan was involved, too (though the two of them might certainly not be the only ones). But the police offered to trade immunity from prosecution for murder for the other information he had, so they put together a story based on but somewhat different from what happened, using both the few verifiable facts that the evidence lined up with that were in fact real (like where the car was), and invented storylines, that could combine plausibly enough to convict Adnan.
posted by Miko at 6:58 PM on November 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


There's some really odd stuff with the car that's discussed in Undisclosed. First of all, it was checked on twice for being un-attended to by Baltimore County police while located in a different neighborhood, though this fact was never apparently shared with Baltimore City police. Also, the car appeared very clean (no snow or other dirt/etc on it) for having sat somewhere for 2 months, and the processing of the crime scene (the car ) did not in any generous sense of the term follow any kind of chain of custody.
posted by localhuman at 8:26 PM on November 8, 2015


Also, the car appeared very clean (no snow or other dirt/etc on it)

To me, this is as dumb as it comes. It snowed, the car should have been dirty, people say. That's just wrong, way wrong. It was parked in an alley off the road, there was no reason for it to accumulate salt and grime. Salt and sand are laid down on the roads, not in parking areas. Baltimore does not pay to have salt and sand trucks treat alleys.

On reddit they're all like, there is green grass under the car like that is proof of anything. Well, no shit, grass goes dormant in the winter, and it's green and it stays green even when dormant. Covered by ice or snow or a car, grass stays green all winter. A car that's not on the roads is a clean car, not covered with grime and salt.
posted by peeedro at 9:18 PM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


I always like when it snows lightly and then melts, leaving the car shiny, before I've driven it around and gotten it all spattered again. It's like a free car wash - it glistens!
posted by Miko at 4:47 AM on November 9, 2015


The Innocence Project has done a lot to show us how this convicts innocent people. Again and again.

Speaking of the Innocence Project, didn't that group that SK spoke with during Serial manage to get a court order for some DNA testing on evidence found at the scene of Hae's body that had never previously been tested? What became of that?
posted by dnash at 11:20 AM on November 9, 2015


Adnan's legal team asked them to defer the DNA testing while they pursued other angles. I last read about this as of this summer, don't know if there have been developments since. Much discussed on reddit - there are other threads too.
posted by Miko at 1:53 PM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow, Miko, thanks for those links. I had been wondering about the level of involvement of the IP, especially since Dierdre said they'd quietly move away from the case if they did not find evidence exonerating Adnan.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:53 PM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


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