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A most influential podcast


A judge has ordered Adnan Syed to be released from prison:

In a remarkable reversal, Adnan Syed walked out of prison on Monday for the first time since he was a teenager, having spent 23 years fighting his conviction on charges that he murdered his former high school girlfriend, a case that was chronicled in the first season of the hit podcast “Serial.”

Judge Melissa M. Phinn of Baltimore City Circuit Court vacated the conviction “in the interests of justice and fairness,” finding that prosecutors had failed to turn over evidence that could have helped Mr. Syed at trial and discovered new evidence that could have affected the outcome of his case.

Prosecutors have 30 days to decide if they will proceed with a new trial or drop the charges against Mr. Syed, who was ordered to serve home detention until then. Prosecutors said that an investigation had pointed to two possible “alternative suspects,” although those individuals have not been named publicly or charged.

I’ve never heard Serial. My understanding is that some people found it compelling and others have found it very unconvincing and think that the case against Syed was much stronger than the podcast let on. Obviously, Syed being released doesn’t answer the question either way — the prosecution committing discovery violations doesn’t mean Syed is innocent — but I assume people who have heard the podcast will have views about this.

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