“Episode twelve conclusively proved that what we’ve been listening to is not a murder mystery: it’s a deep exploration of the concept of reasonable doubt, and therefore an exposé, if unwittingly so, of the terrible flaws in our justice system. Those among us who deign to be jurors, and don’t try to wriggle out of jury duty, too often don’t understand reasonable doubt, or can’t convince fellow-jurors about what it truly means. We convict people who haven’t been proved guilty because we feel that they are guilty. We feel that they’re guilty in part because they’re sitting in a courtroom having been accused of a terrible crime. In cases like this, the burden often ends up on proving the accused’s innocence—not innocent until proven guilty. And Adnan Syed is just the tip of the iceberg.”
True, the tip of the iceberg. Where reasonable, and far more than reasonable, doubt existed in both the McCallum case and with Sebastian Burns and Atif Rafay, the jury chose to convict because the defendants were presumed guilty. Along with the presumption of guilt comes the desire to re-invent the defendants–to turn them into the people who could have done the crime rather than the people who actually did it . May God or whatever force rules this universe see fit to help the people of the Washington State justice system understand that Sebastian Burns and Atif Rafay are not the ‘amoral’ people they were assumed to be but two eighteen year old kids without a lot of social judgment. (At least God knows there are plenty of them!) Until such time, a terrible injustice will continue to stalk the system and all those who work in it. Everyone involved must first look at him or herself and their own children and acknowledge that this could have happened to them.