Tuesday, June 30, 2015
This seems huge to me. Yesterday, I posted an entry which discussed how Adnan's defense team failed to contact his track teammates until after October 16, 1999. But what if it turns out that at least some of these track teammates were never contacted at all? And what if one of these uncontacted track teammates was pretty clearly a potential alibi witness?
After yesterday's post, I decided to take a look back at the transcript for Episode 5 of the Serial Podcast. This was the episode in which Sarah speaks to Adnan's former track teammate, Will. Here's part of their exchange:
Sarah:....Jay goes back to Woodlawn, to get Adnan. Jay tells the cops that he gets to Woodlawn at about six p.m. and that he sees Adnan with a friend from track. The notes from March 18 say "said goodbye to track buddy, Will."
Will: That day, he said bye to Will, and then-- oh man. (sigh)
Sarah: That is Will, from track.
Will: It’s hard to remember that one interaction.
Sarah: You mean I should have asked you fifteen years ago?
Will: Maybe five, I would have remembered. Oh man, that’s hard to remember. Gee whiz, I didn’t even know that I was a part of anything until you just told me that. Like, no one ever contacted me about anything.
Will: Yeah, like, yeah.
Sarah: So the cops-- No cops ever called you and said, “was Adnan at track that day?” No attorneys--
Sarah: No attorneys ever called and said, "was Adnan present at track practice that day?"
Will: I don’t remember any of that.
Where does this leave us? First, the defense team had Will's phone number. He's one of the eight teammates listed in this memorandum I posted yesterday. Second, the defense team knew that Jay claimed that Adnan said "goodbye" to Will as Jay picked Adnan up from track practice on January 13th.
What this means is that Will was a potential alibi witness who likely could have confirmed Adnan's attendance at track practice on January 13th. This is why he was included on the alibi notice filed by the defense with the court; he's the "William" listed toward the bottom. Indeed, he was seemingly the most concrete alibi witness based upon even Jay stating that he saw Adnan and Will together at (the end of) track practice on January 13th.
What's unknown is exactly what Will would have told the defense team in 1999, but you can easily imagine a scenario in which Will could have destroyed the State's case. Ostensibly, Will was the (only) person with Adnan at the end of track practice on January 13th. It's therefore easy to imagine that Will and Adnan might have walked over to track practice together on the 13th and arrived on time. This, of course, would have contradicted Jay's claims that he dropped Adnan off at track practice and that Adnan was late.
Of course, it's entirely possible that Will would have had no meaningful information about January 13th or that his information would have hurt Adnan. What seems clear, however, is that the defense should have had every reason to believe that Will could be an important defense witness and yet failed to contact him to determine what he knew.
This is important for two reasons. First, it is strong circumstantial evidence that the defense team might have failed to contact another potential alibi witness, which is at the heart of Adnan's current ineffective assistance claim. Second, it means that, contrary to the claim of the State's brief, the alibi notice filed by the defense is not evidence of the depth of its investigation; instead, it seems clear that at least some of these prospective alibi witnesses were not contacted.