Serial’s impact on Adnan Syed’s case is both cause for celebration and Somber contemplation.

On Tuesday, for the first time in years, there’s a new podcast episode Serial season one. Its theme, Adnan Syed, who for the past 23 years is serving a life sentence for the murder of his former high school girlfriend Hae Min Lee, was released from prison on Monday. A judge in Baltimore dropped the conviction because state prosecutors said they no longer had confidence in the case against him. When the judgment is made, Serial tweeted immediately that its server Sarah Koeniga problem first Baltimore Sun The reporter who was almost famous for dissecting Syed’s case for more than a dozen episodes in 2014, was present in the courtroom. Her report and true crime investigation series from the people behind This American life achieve one cult follow, breaking records and invigorating the podcast industry. “Original Serial series is possibly the most impactful piece of journalism (by some measures) of the past decade,” said journalist Wesley Lowery tweeted Second, after Syed’s release.

But Koenig’s message in the spin-off of her first true-crime podcast series takes on a sadder tone. It’s not a celebration of the podcast’s influence in making Syed a national figure, with Koenig and other response to Monday’s development serves as a devastating reminder of the number of times the system has failed in Syed’s case. “Yesterday, there was a lot of talk about fairness,” she said in the final moments of Tuesday morning’s episode. and prosecutors in 1999. So even on a day when the government openly recognizes its own mistakes, it’s hard to feel cheered for the victory of justice, because we built a system that took more than 20 years to repair itself — and that was just this one case. “

It’s true was some developments in Syed’s case in the years since Serial, among other things, discovered the existence of an alibi witness Syed’s original defense failed to contact and the physical evidence gathered at the time had never been DNA tested. by Syed; an HBO show will follow reveal that Syed’s DNA was not found on Lee’s body or belongings. Syed, Koenig said, seems to have kept his expectations low throughout. “At least from the outside, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact impact Serial and then the HBO show has the events leading up to Syed’s release from prison yesterday,” CJR’s Jon Allsop Written Third, when “they raised and subsequently drew great public attention to his case in a way that could not be easily separated from the course of the case, and the vacancy of his conviction took years, and finally came out of a new law and a formal procedure. ”

Last week, in a move vacated that Koenig in Tuesday’s episode said “exploded like fireworks from the prosecutor’s office,” Baltimore City state attorney speak “The state no longer has confidence in the integrity of the verdict” despite having stopped defending Syed. “Prosecutors today are not saying Adnan is innocent,” Koenig explained. “Instead they say, in 1999, we didn’t investigate this case thoroughly enough; We relied on evidence that we shouldn’t have, and we broke the rules of prosecuting.” Prosecutors in the motion cited a nearly year-long investigation that uncovered new information about “the possible involvement of two surrogate suspects”—both of whom had known to detectives at the time — as well as key evidence that prosecutors may have failed to turn over Syed’s Attorney and “significant reliability issues involving portions of the license.” most important evidence”, including mobile phone data Serial asked questions. On Monday, a judge gave prosecutors 30 days to either conduct a new trial or drop the case; Syed will be kept under house arrest until then. Koenig, person told the TimesDavid Leonhardt that she was “shocked” last week by prosecutors’ recommendation and “didn’t see this happening at all.”

The first season of Serial is, to this day, talked about in a way that some other podcast series, although it Not the only investigation that brought new, meaningful attention to the old cases. But the 2014 show came when smartphones were becoming ubiquitous and seemed to herald a so-called the golden age of podcasting, the largest loom. That’s true even for Serial Productions, which had several previous seasons and other shows—Beautiful white parents, The Troy Horse Event—It’s a bit pale in comparison. The New York Timeswhich bought Serial Productions in 2020, airing Koenig’s third episode on The Daily. But outside the courtroom on Monday, where the long-term impact of the first season was most evident, in the wave of press met a newly freed Syed.

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