Sorry for my absence….

I apologize for my absence this week.  But I haven’t been reading; I’m back on a podcast binge.

My sister talked me into re-watching The West Wing, which is one of my all time favorite TV shows.  Which lead me to listen to the highly entertaining The West Wing Weekly podcast.  The WWW covers one episode of the WW week by week.  It may seem odd to start a podcast about a show 17 years after it premiered, but I’m going to tell you this – it works.  And it’s a really good podcast.  They have had stars of the show on (which is highly entertaining) and I kind of forgot how great the show is.

Thanks to Crime Writers On, I listened to the In the Dark podcast, which is the story of the disappearance of Jacob Wetterling, an 11-year old boy who disappeared in 1989 and whose murder has just recently been solved.  It’s a well told story of police screw ups and a family’s 27 year search for answers.

While listening to the Undisclosed Addendum, I was introduced to Accused podcast, which tells the story of the murder of Elizabeth Andes in 1978.  Beth’s boyfriend, Bob Young, found her body and called police, and was immediately taken into custody and charged with murder, before the crime scene was even processed.  He was acquitted in the criminal case, and the family filed a civil suit against him, in which he was found not liable.  Another story of police screw ups  and trying to find who may have killed Beth.  Very interesting podcast.

There has also been updates on the Breakdown podcast, which is covering the case of Ross Harris, who left his 2 year old son in a hot car, leading to his death.  As you can see, I like true crime podcasts…

The Real Crime Profile podcast is now covering the JonBenet Ramsey case, talking specifically about the four hour docu-series that was just on CBS.  Their analysis and thoughts on the case are really interesting.

I hope to get back into reading next week.  Hope you all have a great weekend.

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Top Ten Tuesday – Audio freebie

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish blog.

Today’s topic:  All About Audio freebie —  aka top ten audiobooks you should listen to, 10 books I want to listen to on audio,10 bands you should check out, 10 podcasts you should be listening to, 10 of my all time favorite albums, 10 songs I love, really whatever you can come up with.

I don’t listen to audiobooks so I’m going with:

Podcasts you should be listening to

Undisclosed: The State vs. Joey Watkins.  Undisclosed is hosted by Rabia Chaudry, the woman who brought Adnan Syed’s story to Sarah Koenig.  The team has taken on a new case, the case of Joey Watkins, who was convicted on murder on very little evidence.  It’s a very interesting case.

Truth & Justice.  Another podcast that spawned after the first season of Serial, and hosted by Bob Ruff, T&J is now tackling two cases in the incredibly corrupt Tyler, Texas area.  Bob also gives us updates on Adnan’s case as they arise.  Bob is an incredibly compassionate man and is a good storyteller.

Crime Writers On.  A Serial spin-off.  Notice a trend??  CWO covers Serial, other podcasts, pop culture, fiction, true crime, you name it.  Very entertaining podcast.  They spent a majority of a recent episode talking about Stranger Things, so I love them even more now.

Serial.  Obviously, my love of podcasts started from Serial.  While I didn’t love season 2 as much as season 1, I still love Sarah’s storytelling style.

Real Crime Profile.  Hosted by Jim Clemente, former FBI Profiler, Laura Richards, former Scotland Yard profiler and advocate for domestic abuse victims, RCP is a deep dive into crimes.  They have discussed cases like OJ Simpson, Oscar Pistorius and now JonBenet Ramsey.  Incredibly interesting.

Breakdown.  This podcast is a little different in that it only airs when there is new details about the cases they are covering.  They covered the case of Justin Chapman, who was accused of murdering his neighbor in a fire and Justin Harris, who is being tried for murder, after leaving his young son in a hot car all day, where he later died.  Not as polished as other podcasts, but the content is very interesting.

Criminal.  Hosted by Phoebe Judge, who has a Sarah Koenig type voice, Criminal is short stories told about more obscure crimes (stealing wood from protected trees, blackmarket bourbon).  They are all short stories but incredibly interesting.

Actual Innocence.  Stories of people convicted then released from jail after being proven innocent.  A newer podcast, but it’s told by the person who did the jail time, with occasional narration by the host.

Limetown.  The only non-crime podcast I listen to.  This is so outside my normal realm, but I love this podcast.  In fact, at first, I didn’t know if it was real or fiction.  Told beautifully by it’s fictional host, it’s a great mystery.  Can’t wait for the next season.

Which podcasts do you like?  Always looking for true crime recs (though Sword & Scale is too dark for me).

Happy listening.

 

Feature & Follow

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Feature and Follow is a blog hop hosted by Parajunkie and AlisonCanRead.

This week’s topic is:

What are your favorite podcasts – both bookish and non-bookish podcasts?

This is a great topic.  I love podcasts.  I don’t listen to any bookish podcasts.  Here is my list:

  • Serial
  • Undisclosed
  • Truth & Justice
  • True Crime Garage
  • Real Crime Profile
  • Crime Writers On
  • Breakdown
  • Limetown
  • Criminal

What podcasts do you listen to?  I’m always looking for new things to listen to.

Happy Friday!

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Why Maryland would be foolish to retry Adnan Syed

As by now you’ve heard, Adnan Syed, subject of Serial Season 1, has been granted a new trial and his conviction vacated.  Now it’s a matter of getting Adnan bail and getting him the hell out of prison as fast as possible.

The State of Maryland will likely push to retry Adnan for Hae’s murder.  Here are some reasons why they shouldn’t.

  • Obviously, the cell tower data, which was at the forefront of Adnan’s first trial, has been proven to be unreliable.  That would obliterate the state’s timeline as to when Hae’s body was buried (which the Undisclosed team did as well).  The state would have to come up with a whole new timeline, which would mean…
  • Jay would have to testify again.  Anyone who has listened to Serial and Undisclosed knows that Jay lies.  Constantly.  He has about nine versions of what happened the day that Hae died, including the infamous “trunk pop”, which has been disproven by medical experts.  Even if the state called Jay to testify, Jay would likely plead the 5th and be an ineffective witness.
  • Asia’s alibi would come into play.  Two days after Adnan’s arrest, Asia wrote to Adnan stating that she saw him at the library at the supposed time of Hae’s death.  Asia would be called as a witness, and her testimony would again blow the state’s timeline.
  • Justin and Adnan’s team of attorney’s would be able to introduce other possible suspects.  Don should be very worried now that the new trial has been granted, because he will most definitely be called to testify, since his alibi has been proven to be false by Bob.
  • All the evidence the Undisclosed team found would be put into play.  Hae’s paycheck not being cashed, the lividity and most damning the tapes of Jay’s interviews with detectives when they tap, tap, tapped Jay through questioning.  I’m sure Ritz and McGillivary are in great moods today (sarcasm).
  • Adnan has a competent attorney now.  Justin is not going to let things slip through the cracks like Christina G (rest in peace) did.  He’s going to follow up on every lead at his disposal.

Sarah Koenig originally brought us the story of Adnan, and relayed it to us beautifully.  However, Adnan getting a new trial would not be possible if not for Rabia Chaudry, Susan Simpson and Colin Miller from the Undisclosed team.  The details they uncovered about this case were amazing.  Bob Ruff from the Truth & Justice podcasts also made significant discoveries relating to Don and his alibi.  Congratulations to all of them on their hard work and dedication, and I look forward to seeing what happens next.

Lastly, congratulations to Asia McClain, who gave birth to her third child on the same day Adnan’s conviction was vacated.

Have a fantastic 4th of July holiday!

Adnan Syed is getting a new trial!

I don’t know Adnan Syed.  I’ve never met him, but I feel like he’s a member of my family.  And just a few minutes ago, Judge Welch ruled that Adnan would be granted a new trial and his conviction vacated.  This new trial is being granted on the cell phone evidence presented on the Undisclosed Podcast (which, if you liked Serial Season 1, you MUST listen to) proving that the cell tower evidence was not correct during his trial.

This is still a developing story, but it’s so exciting that I had to write a short post.  Proud to be an American today!

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Serial’s ‘sophomore slump’ Season 2 has come to an end

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I was SO excited for Serial Season 2 to begin. Season 1 was really groundbreaking – it introduced us to Adnan Syed, who in 1999 was charged and convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.  Serial S1 was riveting in that it brought us a case we weren’t aware of.  Most people outside of Baltimore had not heard about this case, but now, the entire country knows about Adnan, and the fact that he was convicted on really flimsy evidence at the hands of a defense attorney whose health was failing.

Serial S1 also spawned two “spin-off’s” – Undisclosed and Truth & Justice. These spin-off’s weren’t your typical podcasts – none of the hosts were podcasters by trade, or even journalists.  They were people who felt that Adnan was wrongfully convicted and set out to make a difference in his case.  And they have.  During Serial S2, Adnan had a Post Conviction Relief hearing, based on evidence discovered by the Undisclosed team.  Adnan is awaiting the judge’s decision on whether he will receive a new trial.  So to say that S1 was a success would be an understatement.  It’s successful not just because of the podcast itself, but based on the fact that someone’s life may change based on the podcast even airing.

Serial S2 followed the story of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who in June of 2009, walked off his Army base in Afghanistan in the middle of the night and was captured by the Taliban, where he was subsequently held for five years. Bergdahl was interviewed for this story not by Sarah Koenig (SK), but by Mark Boal, a filmmaker who is making a movie about Bowe’s case.  Sarah never spoke with Bowe directly (at least not that we heard).  This is itself made the season less interesting.  One of the things I loved most about S1 was hearing SK talk to Adnan on the phone.  It brought something to the story that was just missing from S2.

I also had a hard time feeling anything really about this story. SK would talk to people in Afghanistan whose names I can’t pronounce or remember.  She talked about place on the map I couldn’t visualize and used a lot of military jargon that went right over my head.

In the end, we know that Bowe walked away to make a statement about the way his commanding officers acted. Was that a smart decision?  No.  He ended up paying dearly by being held captive for five years, tortured and starved.

There were some moments in S2 that were interesting. Hearing Bowe’s back story, about his upbringing, being home schooled and a little “socially awkward” to hearing about his stint in the Coast Guard not working out.  In a way, the Army should hold some blame for accepting a soldier who was clearly not cut out for the kind of life he’d be expected to lead.  What’s more, there won’t be any spin-off podcasts, because nobody can help Bowe with this predicament.

Overall, I found Serial’s second season to be a disappointment. This story just didn’t have the appeal of the first season for so many reasons.  But it’s not going to prevent me from listening to Season 3.  I’m hopeful that the subject of season 3 will be similar to that of season 1.  But I’d honestly listen to SK read me the phone book…..

Top 10 Tuesday – Top 10 Things I’d like to see happen as a result of Adnan Syed’s PCR Hearing

It’s Tuesday, and we are in the (hopefully) final day of Adnan Syed’s Post Conviction Relief hearing.  I’ve been obsessively following Adnan’s case for a while now, and I couldn’t be more excited at the prospect of Adnan receiving a new trial – or even better – a vacated sentence.

Here are the Top 10 Things I would like to see happen as a result of Adnan’s PCR Hearing.

10.  I would like to see legislation enacted to prevent the police and prosecution from bullying and coercing false confessions.  I have a feeling there a lot of “Adnan’s” in the state of Maryland, and hopefully, if Adnan is granted a new trial, the state will see the need for a change in the system.

9.  I would like to see the state pay for what they’ve done to Adnan.  If Adnan is eventually released, he should sue the state for millions for dollars for ruining is name and the years of his life they cost him.

8.  I would like to know, finally, who received the CrimeStoppers reward.  I have a feeling I know who received, but it would be good to hear it straight from the states mouth.

7.  I’d like to see the DNA from this case finally tested to prove who the real killer is.

6.  I’d like to see a closer look paid to Don.  I’ve always felt Don was fishy, he created a false alibi (proven) and wasn’t as in to Hae as she was to him.  He technically had no alibi for the 13th, so he should be, at the very least, considered a suspect.

5.  I would like to see Jay held accountable for his lies and actions since January 13, 1999.  I don’t believe Jay had anything to do with the murder, but since he admitted to being an accessory to murder, he should have received a jail sentence but got off scott free.  I’m willing to bet that Jay, more than anyone, is hoping Adnan doesn’t get a new trial.

4.  I want to see Ritz & MacGillivary face some consequences for what they did to Adnan, and in a small way, Jay.  They lied (changing Adnan’s age to threaten him with capital murder) and railroaded a 17-year old boy, whose now spent his entire adult life behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit.  They deserve to pay, though they will likely never face any actions.

3.  I would like to see Kevin Urick disbarred for what he did on this case.  He has committed Brady violations, withheld evidence from the prosecution and ruined a 17-year old boys life.  He is despicable and should pay with his law license.

2.  I would like to see Hae’s killer face the consequences for their actions.  Bob Ruff says he knows who Hae’s killer is – I wish he would tell us who he thinks it is.  But Hae’s family deserves to know who killed their daughter – it was NOT Adnan Syed.

Lastly, I would like to see Adnan set free and exonerated of this crime.  The evidence brought to light by the Undisclosed team, and Bob Ruff, should be enough to prove that Adnan didn’t commit this crime.  Adnan deserves a second chance at life  – he deserves a family, a career, a life.  Both Adnan and Hae’s family have suffered for far too long.  The state needs to right this wrong once and for all – and set Adnan free.