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Rabia Chaudry

Tag: This American Life (Page 2 of 6)

Serial Episode 10: Welcome To Our World


Just because the Secretary of State of the US confirms Adnan is an American, doesn't mean the State of MD thinks so

Just because the Secretary of State of the US confirms Adnan is an American, doesn’t mean the State of MD has to buy it. In case you’re wondering Adnan visited Pakistan twice in his life. Once when he was four years old, for a month. And once when he was ten years old, again for a month. We like to radicalize our boys young.

The thing about racism, xenophobia, gender bias, age discrimination, and a host of other prejudices is that unless you’re part of the target group, its very hard to get it. The past few weeks have been gut wrenching as grand juries in the murders of both Eric Garner and Michael Brown returned no indictments against the police officers that killed them.  While the overwhelming and appropriate response has been grief and rage against the systematic brutalization of black men, and the lack of accountability for it, there are the inevitable groups that just don’t get it. They see officers forced to make hard decisions, not institutional racism. They see a series of unconnected unfortunate events, not an epidemic of violent responses by law enforcement towards black men, another manifestation of the brutality that drove slavery, Jim Crow laws, and the extra-judicial lynching of black men by whites in this country – even though none of that was very long ago.

They can’t see what’s before their eyes, no matter how many times and how many ways the people who are affected point it out.  And the saddest and most ironic thing is that even those who suffer prejudice often don’t recognize the bigotry with which they encounter others.

Which brings me to Adnan, and a courtroom full of Muslims who looked as Muslim as Muslims can look. Continue reading

Serial Episode 10: A Mile In These Shoes

Look closely at that total on the white note card.  And that's not even all of it.

Checks issued by Adnan’s parents to CG that I’ve held for 15 years. Look closely at that total on the white note card. And that’s not even all of it.

*Two major issues were address in this episode – religious bias and Christina Gutierrez. Because they both require a thorough treatment, I’ll address them in separate blog posts. This post will be about the issue that, for the first time in listening to the podcasts, really upset me.

Sarah and I disagree about Christina Gutierrez.  And I think she’s wrong.  Really wrong . Let me first explain why I stand where I stand on Christina, and then explain why Sarah isn’t with me.

I wasn’t able to attend the first trial – I was busy taking law school finals in December of 1999 in Virginia .  But I heard about it, how it went down, how Christina asked for a mistrial, it was granted, and the jury was polled with positive results.  It was over before my exams were.

At this point I had never met Christina. I wasn’t part of the community decision making process, but I had heard she was a legal giant.  I was relieved to hear it, but never got involved in the case beyond being in touch with Adnan and his family. Until the second trial.

The first time I met Christina was on January 4, 2000 before the second trial began.  Adnan’s parents were terrified of her, and asked me to come with them to ask questions about the case.  I had heard about her and was pretty terrified myself.  I was a law student who had never seen a criminal trial. This woman was allegedly a beast in the courtroom. But I thought it was the least I could do to help ask the questions Aunty and Uncle had (this is how we address elders in the community, regardless of whether you’re related) and assist with any legalese they may not understand.
Continue reading

Where It All Began

*Before I get into the meat and potatoes of this post, I would be remiss if I didn’t share the work of attorney Susan Simpson, who blogs here. If you want some excellent analysis of the case from a factual and legal perspective, read her stuff.  She basically nails the timeline with respect to what Adnan remembers. 

I’ve said from the beginning that as Serial winds down, I’ll release more documents, but at no point will I “trump” their work. I try at all times to stay at least half a step behind their narrative.  From where I stand it looks like they’ve clearly moved on from the initial parts of the case and investigation, so I thought it was an appropriate time to release some documents in their entirety.

Let me make something clear – nothing I am releasing here is confidential, it is all the kind of public record that anyone could obtain from a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request, which can be filed with any government agency, like the Baltimore County Police. There are some documents that are attorney notes, which cannot be obtained from a FOIA, but even in those I’m careful not to release anybody’s private information. In the documents linked here, I’ve made sure to redact last names, and sometimes first names too, as in the case of “Cathy”, as well as phone numbers and addresses.

So where did the investigation of Adnan begin? With an anonymous phone call, three days after Hae’s body is found.  Continue reading

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