Opinion: How the Adnan Syed debacle might have been avoided

Not only did “Serial” bring Syed and his case to the attention of tens of millions of listeners when it aired in 2014; but it fed ongoing public interest in the case and perhaps even bolstered Syed’s ability to attract and keep top-notch lawyers.

The vast majority of criminal defendants are not so lucky. And yet in the end, it appears that despite the outsize public interest, prosecutors never took a hard look at Syed’s case until an application was made pursuant to Maryland’s Juvenile Restoration Act. (Syed was 17 at the time of the murder.)

In the meantime, Syed served 23 years for a crime that it appears he did not commit, and virtually all of the facts that have now caused prosecutors to reach that conclusion were known — or reasonably could have been known to them — back in 1999 when Syed was tried.

There must be — and there is– a better way to ensure the meaningful review by prosecutors of questionable convictions. What is mystifying is why it was not utilized here.

As a former…

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