Adnan Syed and Serial: Unraveling Injustice

The year: 2000. Nineteen years ago, a boy named Adnan Syed was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. Though sentenced to life in prison, he maintained, and continues to maintain that he is innocent of the crime. From then, he became just another case in the American justice system, shuffled off to serve his time regardless of any potential injustice. Until 2014, when the podcast “Serial” changed everything, going over the entire trial and murder in an incomparable depth. As of the current date, the podcast has been downloaded over 175 million times…  an unquestionably massive number. Many in the public became aware of Syed’s case, and Syed’s defense attorney requested a retrial. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on what side one may choose) the retrial was denied by the Maryland Court of Appeals, and that decision is likely to stay final.

More crucial, however is the impact media has had on the trial itself. Syed’s case originally was irrelevant in the larger sense. When the podcast Serial was made and exploded into national attention, many others began to care about the case itself, and in particular the verdict of the case. The podcast Serial brought into question the testimony of a witness who was key in the trial, in particular because there was no physical evidence for the case – the witness was known as Wilds. Wild’s testimony was that he had helped Syed to kill Lee, but his story changed several times. Indeed, even in recent interviews it is noted that his story again varied from its base. Not only this, but a new witness who was reported to know a concrete alibi for Syed at the time of the murder was reported to have been found by Serial. Without the re-exposure of the case by Serial, causing a myriad of public questioning and outcry, it is doubtful Syed’s trial would have had even a chance of being reconsidered, even if in the end the verdict was reaffirmed, and Syed had no chance after all.