Which factor likely played the most significant role in the outcome of Adnan Syed’s original case and why? To what extent did this factor play a role. Defend your choice using the strongest evidence possible.

Factors you may want to consider include: law enforcement, court procedures, the forensic and nonforensic evidence, the lawyers in the case, implicit bias, or something else you think is more relevant. Consider all these factors in depth before making your decision about which played the greatest role in the conviction.  If you believe the behavior of law enforcement was the main reason Adnan was convicted you will need to evaluate not only how Ritz and McGillivary conducted their investigation, but also the practices of the Baltimore police department at that time and other issues like the police who wouldn’t show up to testify.  If you focus on the court procedures you will need to learn more about legal procedures such as how Frye hearings work, what discovery and Brady violations are, how prosecutors and defense attorneys are able to present their cases, and how all those things impact the outcome of a case.  If you believe the use of forensic and non-forensice evidence, both the evidence that was used (e.g. cell data, eyewitness testimony) and the evidence that was not used or not used in depth (lividity patterns), was the main reason Adnan was convicted, you will need to look into what was actually presented in court and what could or should have been. They did put a medical examiner on the witness stand, but the jurors didn’t hear about the lividity issues. Why not? What was that medical examiner’s office like?  If you want to look at the competence of the lawyers on either or both sides of the case you’ll need to investigate more about Christina Gutierrez, her strengths and weaknesses, and about potential ways the other lawyers took advantage of her situation. Another direction you could take your essay is to argue how modern media, such as podcasts, have impacted the outcome of obscure cases such as this one. To what extent do podcasts and journalism really matter?

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