Monday, June 15, 2015

AMERICAN JUSTICE - 'Serial' Podcast Revelations

"How ‘Serial’ shined a light on our troubled justice system" PBS NewsHour 6/8/2015


SUMMARY:  It’s a true crime story that captivated a nation more than 15 years after it happened:  Adnan Syed is serving a life sentence after being convicted of the 1999 killing of his high school girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in Baltimore.  William Brangham examines how the podcast “Serial” raised questions about Syed’s defense, and how the case continues to make news.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Next, a different look at law and order and the impact of a podcast that became a phenomenon, “Serial”‘s investigation of a murder case and a defendant who may have been wrongly convicted.

The podcast’s season wrapped up during the winter, but there’s still major interest and new developments in the case.  An appeal is now forthcoming, one that could lead to a new trial, a plea deal, or perhaps a decision by the state to drop it entirely.

At the same time, larger conversations about the justice system are being stoked anew by this true crime investigation and others.

And back to William Brangham, who has been following the story.

SARAH KOENIG, Host:  From “This American Life” and WBEZ Chicago, it’s “Serial,” one story told week by week.  I’m Sarah Koenig.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM (NewsHour):  It’s been downloaded over 60 million times, making “Serial” the most popular podcast in the world.

Throughout its 12 episodes, journalist Sarah Koenig and her team re-investigate a murder case from the late ’90s, a case that put a teenager in prison for life.  But “Serial” rediscovered a key alibi witness that could help overturn that conviction.

Advocates for criminal justice says “Serial” has been a welcome reminder of the problems with our legal system.

BARRY SCHECK, Co-Director, Innocence Project:  What’s been useful about “Serial” and often happens in cases where public attention is focused on a possible miscarriage of justice is that all kinds of people begin to look at the record and go, oh well, this should have been done, that should have been done.

WILLIAM BRANGHAM:  The story began in 1999 in a suburb outside Baltimore, when a 17-year-old girl named Hae Min Lee went missing.

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