Culture

Serial’s Adnan Syed Is Getting Another Appeals Hearing In January

Shit just got real.

Adnan Syed, an alleged murderer serving a life sentence in a Western Maryland correctional facility, has been getting a lot of attention recently from Sarah Koenig’s wildly popular podcast Serial. Now this “downloadable podcast about a death of someone” may be about to get a very tense finale; Syed’s lawyer C. Justin Brown has confirmed that there will be an appeals process held for his client in January next year. “[It’s his] last best chance at freedom,” Brown said.

It will also be an uncomfortable reminder that this is, in fact, all a true story.

But before you start throwing confetti in the air and sending police cars to pick up Jay and the girl who refuses to say “Mailchimp” like a normal human, let’s take a step back. This is far from a slam dunk to proving Adnan’s innocence in the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. In fact, that’s not even its goal. The appeals process is intended to investigate whether Syed’s defence attorney, the now deceased Cristina Gutierrez, represented her client to the best of her abilities. This will be the second time his case has been heard.

As fans of the podcast all know by now, this is definitely an issue worth exploring. Gutierrez never asked the prosecution for a plea deal and she never questioned Asia McClain (an eye witness that placed Adnan somewhere else at the time of the crime). There have also been worrying questions posed about the handling of certain evidence at the crime scene. The rope! The bottle! Anyone who’s ever played Cluedo could tell you that these are things that should probably be considered when charging someone with murder.

Though all these questions were already being asked before the podcast — the Special Appeals court showed an interest in the case before the first episode aired in September — the enormous popularity of Serial has no doubt hurried things along. “It’s an unusual phenomenon … [This] is more than they usually do in this procedural posture,” says Brown.

Of course, as Syed’s lawyer says, “the appellate courts [will] make their decisions based on the merits of the case, and not the popularity of a podcast”. But regardless of Syed’s guilt or innocence this is definitely a win for Serial. Though Koenig has said from the very start that we shouldn’t expect any kind of closure, many of her incessant questions may soon be getting their answers.

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Via Kristin Chirico/Buzzfeed.