Search About Donate
Submitted 10:39 p.m.
12.10.2014
Letter to the Editor

I am a public defender in Brooklyn...who begs to differ with my colleagues. This case seems fairly straightforward.”

Josh Scheier of Montclair, NJ

I am struck by the near unanimity among the defense lawyers polled who believe Adnan is either innocent or wrongly convicted, and prosecutors who believe the opposite. Do we really see the world through such diametrically opposed lenses?

I am a public defender in Brooklyn (where I worked alongside two of the article's contributors) who begs to differ with my colleagues. This case seems fairly straightforward. The testimony of the prosecution's witness, Jay, to whom Adnan allegedly confided his intention to murder Hae, and who claimed to have helped dispose of the body, led detectives to the victim’s car. Therefore, his involvement is certain. His story is in significant respects corroborated by phone records, most importantly, the presence of Adnan's phone in the park where the body was buried and where Adnan claims he has never been, and the 2-minute call to "Nisha" for which Adnan has no explanation. Also significant, Jay relayed his story to a third-party witness before he was ever implicated when he had no motive to lie.

So, either Jay did it alone, with Adnan, or with someone else. To those who claim Adnan could not be such a sociopath, the notion that Jay would not only murder Hae, either alone or with a third-party, with no motive whatsoever, and frame Adnan seems to me a far greater stretch.

I have heard nothing on the show thus far to seriously challenge the verdict. Yes, there are inconsistencies in Jay's story and the timeline is at best messy, but these are not uncommon. Could Jay be minimizing his own involvement? Perhaps, but that does not take Adnan off the hook. With respect to the alibi, there are sound tactical reasons not to pursue this defense. Putting on an alibi can subtly shift the burden of proof, try though we might to prevent that from happening. Unless an alibi is airtight and exculpatory - and this one was neither - it is a risky strategy that can easily backfire. Failure to even investigate, however, is constitutionally ineffective. Unfortunately, without Ms. Gutierrez, that claim is speculative.

So, while there was certainly enough for a jury to find reasonable doubt, there verdict was not against the weight of the evidence and I am comfortable with it.

 
These letters written in response to
Feature December 10, 2014
The lawyers favor acquittal.