Tuesday, December 29, 2015
I've remarked before about Cristina Gutierrez's overuse of law clerks/students in her representation of Adnan Syed. Among other tasks that Gutierrez delegated to these law students, she assigned the task of reviewing many of the witness statements in the case and providing summaries. The implication is that Gutierrez did not herself read these witness statements and instead relied upon secondhand accounts by law students who might have missed key facts or misstated what a witness said. In this entry, I will post one of these summaries.
This summary is a summary of the witness statement given by Ja'uan Gordon on April 20, 1999. You might recall Ja'uan from Serial. He was Adnan's friend, and he told police that Adnan and he once smoked weed in the same side Best Buy parking lot where Jay claimed (but no longer claims) that Adnan killed Hae.
Ja'uan was not, however, called as a witness at trial, which makes sense given the foregoing summary. Ja'uan said that he had no recollection of January 13, 1999, and he told the police that Adnan was initially upset by his breakups by Hae but that he had started being with other girls by the 13th and seemed over the breakup. In other words, Ja'uan didn't seem to have much useful information, which might partially (but not fully) explain why his interview wasn't summarized until well after Adnan's first mistrial, on January 21, 2000. Here's the summary:
[Update: It looks like we have another Exhibit #31 situation. Here are the MPIA pages covering Ja'uan's interview(s). The first page is the cover sheet for Ja'uan's 4/20 interview. The second page is the Progress Report indicating that Ja'uan was interviewed on 4/20. The third page is a single page of handwritten notes from the 4/20 interview.
Pages 4-12 are then typed notes from an interview, and pages 13-16 are handwritten notes from an interview. These 16 pages thus give the impression of all being from the 4/20 interview. It seems, however, that pages 4-12 and 13-16 are actually from Ja'uan's 4/9 interview, with the first page of the typed notes (ostensibly indicating that they are from the 4/9 interview) apparently missing from the file. Therefore, it would seem as if the State's notes pertain to Ja'uan's 4/9 interview, which was not transcribed or recorded. Conversely, it would seem as if the clerk's notes pertain to Ja'uan's 4/20 interview, which was recorded and turned over to the defense. At least, I now think that's what happened. Once again, the State's record keeping makes it difficult to say anything with certainty.].