Saturday, February 6, 2016
Yesterday, there was a moment when I thought that I might need to reassess my opinion regarding the innocence of Adnan Syed:
Later, Jessie did indeed grab a pic of the State's exhibit, and it turns out that the exhibit does not support the State's argument at all.
I've written before that there are several versions of the 10/16/99 track memo in the defense files. These are collected in a file called "Track Team Roster." In all, there are eight versions of the memo in this file, and none of them contain any mention of Adnan being 20 minutes late to track practice.
A few weeks ago, however, the Deputy Attorney General was able to review the defense files because attorney-client privilege is waived when a defendant brings an ineffective assistance of counsel claim. During that search, he apparently found a version of the memo that was in a different part of the defense files. Here is Jessie DaSilva's picture of the memo that was introduced by the State:
The notation in question is the one written next to the first name on the memo. It says something like, "left message on answering machine, then 20 minutes late Dad return my call and said he was away at college." This seemingly makes it clear that the teammate's father called the private investigator (or whoever wrote the note) 20 minutes after a message was left on his answering machine. It certainly in no way implies that the teammate said that Adnan was 20 minutes late to track practice on January 13, 1999.
Indeed, from what I've heard about the proceedings yesterday, it turns out that the teammate in question received a subpoena but was never contacted by the defense, leading to him showing up at court in 1999 or 2000, with no idea why he was there and no testimony procured from him.
But at least this teammate got his subpoena. Another tweet makes it clear that the defense introduced the yearbook page to show that the defense memo compiled by Gutierrez's law clerk/student came solely from a page in the Woodlawn yearbook that listed eight track members who medaled at a certain event. As such, (1) the defense was unaware of about 70% of the roster for the Boys Indoor Track team; and (2) the subpoena for Will was sent to Woodlawn High School because the law student failed to realize that he had already graduated.
Previously, I had thought that this entire case could have turned out differently if Will's subpoena had simply been sent to the correct address, but, based upon the fact that Adnan's other teammate received his subpoena but was never contacted by the defense, that now seems less likely. Of course, Will was not alone. The current defense private investigator was able to contact 41 people on Adnan's 83 person alibi notice from 1999; of the 41, 37 were never contacted and the other 4 were never asked about providing an alibi.
As a result, it's no surprise that defense expert David Irwin concluded that Gutierrez's performance "was well below the minimum required by Strickland."