EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Friday, May 29, 2015

Where in the Adnan Syed Trial Record Does Someone Accuse Gutierrez of Not Talking to People?

An astute reader pointed me to an interesting discussion that occurred during the second trial of Adnan Syed for murdering Hae Min Lee. The discussion occurred on February 15th, when Adnan's defense attorney (Cristina Gutierrez) was claiming that one of the prosecutors instructed Jenn not to talk to her. Here's part of the judge's response (pages 176-77):

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 12.10.33 PM

This leads to two questions: (1) Who accused Gutierrez wouldn't talk to people; and (2) Does this accusation appear anywhere else in the trial record? Thanks for any assistance.



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That judge seemed to be pretty bad throughout the trial. She seemed not to like Cristina, and she showed it.

Posted by: hooville | May 29, 2015 9:38:13 AM

A bit off topic, but if it's true Zurich told Jenn not to talk to CH, and he told Asia not to talk at the pcr hearing, I wonder who else he's told not to talk.

Posted by: Mariel | May 29, 2015 9:48:23 AM

Mariel: The allegation was actually that Murphy (the other prosecutor) told Jenn not to talk to Gutierrez.

Posted by: Colin Miller | May 29, 2015 9:50:02 AM

Possibly referring to CG's alleged failure to convey plea deal to Merzbacher? Looks like the timing fits with post-conviction proceedings in that case e.g. https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/2475330/merzbacher-v-shearin/

'Accusations' makes sense in that context, though 'wouldn't speak' and 'failed/forgot to speak' are clearly different.
While I'm here, thanks for all your work and commiserations on the reasons for introducing the new moderation policy.

Posted by: WLJ | May 29, 2015 10:45:37 AM

Given the context, I think the Judge misspoke and meant that there were allegations that CG told witnesses not to talk to others (presumably the prosecution).

Posted by: James | May 29, 2015 11:00:35 AM

WLJ: Interesting, and I think the distinction you draw makes sense.

James: I could see it that way, which means we would be looking for a reference to that behavior by Gutierrez in the transcript. My reading, though, is different. I read it as the judge saying that Gutierrez was being accused of not speaking to people, with Gutierrez now defending her (in)actions by claiming that Murphy told these people not to talk to her.

Posted by: Colin Miller | May 29, 2015 11:05:21 AM

Given the prosecutors' duplicity throughout- and which is evident in the record- it wouldn't surprise me that CG attempted to speak to some of the witnesses, was rebuffed by them on the basis that prosecutors had told them not to speak to her, and then the prosecution argued that she had "refused" to speak to them.

They willfully committed Brady violations with the first trial, and were basically excused for those bad acts because it was a mistrial. The term "legal ethics" is an oxymoron, and that was demonstrated in this case in spades.

Posted by: bacchys | May 29, 2015 6:35:46 PM

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