A new book from Rabia Chaudry, co-host of the Undisclosed podcast, digs deep into the conviction of Adnan Syed, picking up where the Serial podcast left off and providing fascinating new details.
Shelf Unbound/Podster: What are a few of the most significant findings about the Adnan Syed case that Undisclosed has uncovered?
Undisclosed: First, at the end of Serial, most people thought Asia seeing Adnan until 2:40 P.M. was factually irrelevant because Summer, Hae’s co-manager for the wrestling match, saw Hae still at school after 2:40 P.M. and talked to her about the wrestling match that day. As it turns out, however, there was no wrestling match on the day Hae disappeared.
Second, the lividity evidence—evidence of the pattern of blood settling in Hae’s body—establishes that Hae was not on her side in the trunk of her Sentra for four to five hours after she died or buried on her right side in the 7:00 hour. Both of these claims were key to Jay’s story and the prosecution’s case.
Third, the cell tower pings that supposedly placed Adnan’s cell phone in Leakin Park—the site of Hae’s burial—in the 7:00 hour were both calls based upon incoming pings. Susan discovered that the disclaimer accompanying the cell tower records indicated that incoming calls are not reliable for determining location. When this disclaimer was shown to the cell tower expert who testified at Adnan’s trial, he recanted his testimony.
Shelf Unbound/Podster: What do you make of the world’s fascination with this case?
Undisclosed: Many cases capture the public attention for short periods of time. What’s maintained the public’s attention for so long with this case is that something just doesn’t feel right here. Whether it be Jay changing his story based upon a misplaced cell tower or completely changing his story in his Intercept interview, the more we learn about the case, the less we know.
Shelf Unbound/Podster: How did the three of you become connected?
Undisclosed: As Serial aired, Susan and I started blogging about the case. Rabia began reading our blogs and mentioning what we had uncovered in talks she was giving, but most of the audience was not aware of developments post-Serial. This led to the idea that we should create a podcast where a wider audience could learn more about the case and what was being uncovered.
Shelf Unbound/Podster: Do you think our criminal justice system needs reform and if so what would that look like?
Undisclosed: There needs to be more science in forensic science and more discipline for prosecutors who engage in misconduct. Public defenders’ offices are woefully underfunded, and many police departments continue to use interrogation and identification procedures that have been proven to result in wrongful convictions. Mandatory minimum sentences can create punishments that don’t match many crimes while many judges impose sentences that are too light for certain egregious crimes, such as rape.