Adnan Syed Denied Second Trial

Back in 2014, the podcast Serial became an internet sensation as it broke down with great discipline and specificity the case, trial, and subsequent conviction of Adnan Syed for the murder of his girlfriend Hae Min Lee.

The publicity and the serious, legitimate questions raised about Syed’s conviction and trial as a result of the podcast was so great that Syed’s case was re-opened and eventually he was granted the right to a new trial by the state of Maryland.

Well, that didn’t last long.

But on Friday, Maryland’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled in a 4-to-3 decisionthat while Mr. Syed’s defense lawyer had been “deficient” in not calling a potential alibi witness to testify during the trial 19 years ago, ultimately Mr. Syed was not “prejudiced” by that deficiency.

NY Times

I am not a lawyer, and my only exposure to this case was from the Serial podcast, however it would seem to me that if the defendant’s legal representation was referred to as “deficient” by the State of Maryland’s Court, then that would be grounds for a new trial. If key witnesses that were able to verify and legitimize critical facts and timelines in this case, then those people need to be heard.

I honestly don’t know, and don’t have a strong opinion about, whether Syed is innocent or guilty. What I do know is that there were enough questions raised by the Serial podcast that brings to light way too many leaps of faith that were taken in the original trial and conviction of Syed. As we have seen so many times over the years, corruption, prejudice, and hidden agendas can sometimes win the day within the Legal and Court System and you do do have to wonder if there is an over-zealous DA trying to keep the wraps on a very high profile case that would possibly expose a lot of dirty laundry in the state legal system of Maryland.

Start It Up

If you are a podcast listener, here is one to add to your listening queue.

At one point in the not too distant past, Alex Blumburg was a producer at NPR and was intimately involved in argueably the two best programs on the NPR show list – This American Life and Planet Money (Six years on, the TAL podcast that Blumberg and Ira Glass produced – “The Giant Pool of Money” – about the 2008 financial crisis still resonates with me).

Blumburg recently left NPR to venture into the great blue yonder of starting a business – only he’s producing a podcast series that is documenting his successes, failures, and challenges along the way as he tries to build his company and business.

So if you are in a start up, thinking about starting up a business, or just need some new programming to listen to on your commute to and from your cubicle job, take a listen to the Start Up podcast. The RSS feed of the podcast is here and you can just copy and paste the URL into any Podcast player (I’m a big fan of Marco Arment’s Overcast in the iTunes Store)

Source: Start Up.

Know Your Credit Default Swaps

If you are a little befuddled about what caused this economic mess we are currently in and will continue to be in for at least the next 18-24 months, take a few hours and listen to This American Life’s Giant Pool of Money and Another Frightening Show About the Economy. They are two amazingly clear and informative podcasts about what caused this mess and how the “geniuses” on Wall Street brought the modern economic system to its knees.

I Want My (Free) Marketplace Podcast

Marketplace, which airs on NPR, is probably my favorite audio show out there. Its a half hour audio show that talks about the day’s business news, but in a way that is immensely interesting and engaging. But to my great frustration, its not available as a free podcast like practically every other show on NPR? Why, you ask? Well, and I am speculating here as I have no facts, but its probably because they are tied down to a poorly negotiated contract with Audible, a company who’s business model is completely shot to hell with the advent of the podcast and is desperate to keep “partners” providing them with content. I mean, you can get Marketplace @ Audible for $2.00 an episode or $70 a year, but who is realistically going to pay for that in the world of podcasting? The number of subscribers has to be a miserable number. On the area of Audible that promotes Marketplace, there are zero, zip, nada, customer comments. I can hear the tumbleweeds. Its heresy to pay for a show that’s aired on National Public Radio.

So I ask you, fair reader and Marketplace listener, stand up and be heard. Send Marketplace an email and implore them to release Marketplace as a free podcast.