Famed podcast reveals discrepancy in justice system


In 2014 the podcast, Serial, became the most downloaded podcast in history with over 175 million downloads. Sarah Koenig, American journalist and public radio personality, was honored with a Peabody Award and in 2015 was named one of Time Magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People” for her role in the podcast. Koenig used investigative journalism strategies to explore the case of Adnan Syed who maintains his innocence in regards to the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. Popularity of the podcast opened the door for Syed to request a new trial, but on November 25, 2019, the petition was denied.

Our country is built on rules that protect our freedom. One of which is “innocent until proven guilty.” Although we have these rules set, the law system always seems to find loopholes. These loopholes are what put an innocent man in jail for more than half of his life. I use the term “innocent” because Adnan Syed was never proven guilty. There is no hard evidence against him in his case. There is evidence, but it can be questioned and twisted to fit whatever story the state wants it to. The evidence and witness stories are flimsy and very difficult to prove true. 

Adnan was sent to jail primarily because of the testimony of Jay Wilds. Jay was a friend of Adnan’s but they were never very close. In the law system, if a witness changes his or her story or lies while being questioned, they are supposed to be considered not credible and their statement should be disregarded. Jay’s story changed at least four times since the start of the police investigation. Also it should be noted that Jay was given the opportunity to improve the state’s case against Adnan with his story in exchange for no jail time for any connection he had in the crime. This is a clear example of one of the unusual loopholes in America’s law system. 

Adnan stated multiple times that he does not remember exactly what he was doing that day. He says things like “If it was a school day I was probably at track practice,” or, “It was Ramadan so I was probably at the mosque.” These statements do not necessarily help his case, but also do not hurt his case. His story did not change once throughout the entire investigation. There was no DNA found at the scene, nobody saw him kill Hae, and there were no cameras at the supposed scene of the crime. There is no solid evidence to prove he’s guilty. The evidence used against him is that Jay said he did it. Jay knew where Hae’s missing car was, Jay knew where Hae was buried, and Jay was clearly involved in the crime. He has admitted things that should’ve been enough to put him in jail, not Adnan. 

“Innocent until proven guilty” is apparently a freedom we get only when it is beneficial to the American law system. To this day, there is no hard evidence, nor is there a credible witness accusing Adnan. According to the law, this makes Adnan an innocent man. Now I ask you, how do you feel knowing being innocent is not enough to keep your freedoms in America? “Guilty until proven innocent,” unfortunately, seems to be a better fit.