Podcastin’ – Serial Episode 10

Episode 10: The Best Defense is a Good Defense

I’m going to go about this recap a bit differently than I usually do because I don’t feel like I’m always able to cover all of the bases.

  • Adnan’s mother speaks! If you have stuck solely to the actual podcast for your information, you have not yet heard much from Adnan’s family until now. I’m preeeetty stuck in my ways of avoiding the Reddit page and most other “extracurricular” information, but I have, however, watched this CBS interview with his mother and brother. Anyway, that aside, we now know that Adnan’s parents believe him to be unconditionally innocent – and possibly only convicted as a prime example of racism in our society.
  • Young men escaping to Pakistan/stereotypes used against Adnan. Apparently, there is this “trend” of young possible “criminals” leaving America in an attempt to “flee.” (So many “quotes.”) “He has an uncle who can make people disappear…” What was this even about…? What kind of twisted tactic is this? And, are you freakin’ kidding me? This report appears that “explains” Adnan and his “culture” to the police. It says that Adnan may have killed an innocent girl in America, but in Pakistan? Oh no, this is not understood as a crime. Adnan was simply defending his honor. I don’t claim to know law at all but I’m having a hard time seeing anything but racism here. As Sarah explains, this just proves how easy it is for stereotypes to get involved. And, to top it all off, Adnan is not even Pakistani – he is American with Pakistani heritage. They’re stretching all of these outlandish ideas so that maybe, possibly, somehow they can be used as a reasoning as to why Adnan would have killed Hae.
  • “Think about what he would have been taught about women and women’s rights.” – one of Adnan’s teachers. Wow. WOW. All this but Adnan’s “religion didn’t factor into his case!” Whaaaaaaat, ya don’t say? Juror #1 says “maybe it was his culture [that made him kill her] but not his religion.” OH! There we go! Makin’ sure we still know this argument is fueled by ignorance, hahahaha. Gettin’ much, much easier to see what Mrs. Syed was getting at.
  • Did Adnan’s lawyer blow it? Adnan (and yes, present day Adnan) believes that his lawyer did everything that she could have done (other than call Asia – which was believed to simply be an oversight) and that she was his protector. Sarah sums up the defense’s theory as “someone else did it.” The tactic was to “dump” blame on others in any possible way to take attention off of Adnan.
  • Trial #2 After the mistrial, the first jury was polled. The jurors “gave every indication that they were moving toward acquittal.” They had not heard everything, but they had heard most of the case at the point of mistrial. Although those working with Cristina, Adnan’s attorney, began to feel more confident about trial #2, Sarah brings in the idea of all of the differences from trial to trial – even if the strategy stays the same. Cristina spends a great deal of trial #2 trying to bring Mr. S into the situation. She is finally able to bring him into the court and, although he is her witness, he does not want to be there. More importantly, however, Cristina wanted to go after Jay. Sarah explains that Cristina had a lot of punches, but a lot of them just didn’t land. Adnan says that the prosecution had a clear outline while Cristina wasn’t as clear. Sometimes he couldn’t even remember what they were talking about because her arguments were often much less precise or tended to be longwinded.
  • “The prosecutor in this case helped to provide you a lawyer?!” Oh, my, god. Cristina is freaking out! And I am, too! And Cristina is right! This is a benefit for Jay! And maybe he would lie about what happened because he is probably changing his information as a result. This is just…unreal. The judge agrees that this is fishy but says that Jay does not seem to think that this is strange at all so his testimony was probably not altered and, in a sense, Cristina is “overruled.”
  • Sarah does not believe Cristina blew this case, at least not on purpose. After this episode, I agree. Previously, I thought this was a possibility, maybe Adnan had a bad lawyer but now, no. I do not think Cristina necessarily screwed Adnan over. In her voice, you can hear how passionate she is about this. I don’t know if I believe that she did everything possible (leaving out Asia, for example), but maybe, as Sarah says, something very personal was going on with Cristina. Adnan’s mother says that, towards the end of the second trial, Cristina would bully them about money. Things just…changed. She seemed to have lost something between the first and second trial. Which leads me to…
  • Cristina & money (and other strangenesses). Cristina threatened Adnan’s parents because they “owed her money.” She said she could take their house away. In the other case that Sarah tells us about, the family involved says that they were pushed to believe that this was just “Cristina’s way.” She began to be unable to be contacted and would be painfully late to file briefings. Around the time of these missteps, Cristina fell very ill and was hospitalized. It was clear at this point that “Cristina could not keep up with her cases” – but nobody stopped her. 28 clients began to complain that Cristina had taken their money and had not used it in the case as she said she would…28 clients.
  • Adnan’s “new appeal.” According to Sarah, these recent news stories saying Adnan is getting a new appeal in January are not quite true. His case is still alive – if only by a thread. He has a petition basically stating that “Cristina may have screwed up” by leaving out Asia – but mainly because Adnan asked Cristina twice to seek a plea deal and she never did it. Sarah says that Adnan showed her his petition and tells him that it is hard to believe that he really ever asked for a plea deal, mainly because he has held so strongly for all these years that he is innocent and because it always seemed that he believed that all of this would “sort itself out and he would go home.”
  • “What if he’s a psychopath?” Oh man, next week can’t come soon enough.

My opinion hasn’t changed based on this episode – I still maintain that I do not know (/will never know) if Adnan did it but I still believe that, based on what we know, there is not enough to have put him in prison for this long. I do think that Adnan’s lawyer was ineffective in some ways but I do not think that she blew it on purpose. I feel like there’s plenty of information we’re still missing and hopefully we get some of it next time, on Serial… (see what I did there)

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