Tuesday, March 26, 2019
As I noted in my prior post,
In tonight's 3rd episode of HBO's "The Case Against Adnan Syed," there was a huge revelation that makes its really difficult to believe in Adnan Syed's guilt: Amy Berg showed Kristina (Kristi) Vinson her academic record from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. That record showed that Kristi was taking a short course during the Winter Term in January 1999. That class met three (or four) times on Wednesdays from 6:00-9:10pm, including on January 13, 1999, the day that Hae Min Lee disappeared. As Kristi notes, there's no way she could have blown off that class. Because the class met only three/four times, if she skipped even one of the class sessions, Kristi would have failed; instead, she got a B. Therefore, as Kristi herself concludes, there's no way that the day that Jay and Adnan came to her house was January 13th.
There was, however, a second "potentially" big revelation in the episode. This second revelation is only "potentially" big for a few reasons.
This second revelation is the phone call between Jay Wilds and Nikisha Horton, the mother of his child. The first big question is exactly what Jay said during the call. In 39 states, we wouldn't have this issue. Those states are one party consent states, meaning that only one party to a conversation needs to consent to it being recorded. So, for example, a call between a person in Georgia and a person in South Carolina could be recorded with only the consent of the person making the call.
Maryland and California, however, are both two party consent states. Therefore, for HBO to record Jay's side of the call with Nikisha, they would have needed the consent of both Nikisha and Jay. HBO obviously did not get Jay's consent to record him, which is why the episode only shows Nikisha's summary of what Jay said.
This leads to the second big question, which is what exactly Jay said. Clearly, Nikisha says that Jay got busted with a bunch of weed in his possession and accordingly claimed that Adnan killed Hae in exchange for not being charged in connection with the weed. But, at various points, Nikisha seems to be saying that (1) Jay made the whole thing up and said what the police wanted him to say; and/or (2) Jay made things seem worse than they were. In other words, it's unclear whether Jay was saying he made up everything about Adnan killing Hae or merely made Adnan's behavior sound worse than it was (whatever that means...maybe premeditated vs. heat of passion).
This, of course, leads to the third big question, which is whether we can trust what Jay says. I would be completely unsurprised if Jay was busted with weed and pointed the finger at Adnan as Hae's murderer to avoid years in prison. But I would also be completely unsurprised if Jay was not in fact busted with weed in the period between Hae being killed and Jay pointing the finger at Adnan. With Jay, you just never know.
But, let's assuming that Jay did in fact point the finger at Adnan due to being busted with a bunch of weed. This information obviously was never disclosed to the defense. That would thus make this a classic Brady violation due to the State's failure to disclose material exculpatory evidence, in this case material impeachment evidence relating to a key witness for the prosecution.
I don't know that we'll ever get resolution of this issue, but it's yet another lifeline that could exist to get Adnan a new trial.