List 5 things you like about yourself and your 10 favorite blogs
1: Well.. there isn’t many things I actually like about myself, but one of them I guess is I like my humor? I tend to make people laugh with my jokes and such in Discord chats, and people like me because I can be funny? I suppose that’s something.
2: I like how my writing has improved I suppose? I still don’t like it much, since Im an insecure piece of s h i t. But, on my fanfics lately I do tend to read a lot of positive comments and smile about it?
3: My singing. I can actually confidently say I like my singing voice for the most part? I sing a lot in voice chats and calls, and I swear to god if reincarnation is a thing I was a songbird at some point in my life with how much I sing wow.
4: I guess Im outgoing? Wanna go camping? Hiking? Golfing? Fishing? Wanna kill a man and hide a body? Hit me up fam.
5: Thinking of positive things is so foreign to me wow.. but Im good at making friends and helping them out? That’s two things in one but you gET WHAT I MEAN
-Mitch still knowing Avis phone number even though he hasn’t called him since they broke up and calling him at 3 am when he’s completely wasted and avi is mad but tbh it’s impressive he still knows the phone number
-avi pointing out that Mitch still has his jacket and even though they broke up and even wears it sometimes and Mitch just claims that it’s comfy but he knows that it’s the only thing that smells like avi and reminds him of ‘home’
-Mitch going to a family reunion for the first time since he broke up with avi and his little cousin who absolutely adored avi asked Mitch where he was in his tiny voice and Mitch having to go to the bathroom and look at a folder of pictures of avi on his phone to feel better again
-Mitch having a New Years party at his house and inviting all of ptx and setting up mistletoe almost everywhere so he can kiss avi but it’s not working and so Scott grabs one and Kevin grabs avi and pushes him next to Mitch and Scott holds the mistletoe above them and Mitch is like Scott !!!! wyd he will notice and then avi just smiled and goes closer till Mitch until they are both staring at each other’s eyes and Mitch is blushing and closing his eyes and avi kissed him and everyone is cheering because finally
-Avi and Mitch are alone and there has been a lot of tension between them lately after they both confessed their feelings for each other but nothing happened. Finally they are left alone and Mitch leans in to kiss avi but accidentally headbutts his nose and starts apologising like crazy to avi, and avi realising how much Mitch is rambling and just cuts him off by kissing him and Mitch relaxing into the kiss and smiles.
-Mitch always being the cool one in the relationship and one day Mitch falls asleep in Avis arms and then having a bad dream and avi is asking if he’s okay and moving his hair out of his face but Mitch doesn’t wake up and avi just cuddling him closer and hugging him but Mitch doesn’t remember this happened and avi now looking out for Mitch even more since it happened
-Mitch being alone in the bedroom that he shares with avi and turning on his phone and looking through his pictures and he sees a picture of avi and him going ice skating yesterday (Avis surprise date ) and he finds himself just burying more into the blankets because he can’t help it that he loves him so much and he doesn’t want to be with anyone else for the rest of his life
-There being snow and Mitch is all >:( but then when he goes out he sees Avi all happy and looking back at Mitch and going all ‘oh my god Mitch look at this isn’t it amazing’ and Mitch just can’t stop smiling because oh my god he is so cute and he is so in love with him and he just starts grinning at Avi and smiling and looking at him with so much love
-Pentatonix touring and ending up in a really hot place and avi is getting some ice cream because fuck he was gonna burn to death, then he was licking his cone normally and Mitch just comes in and licks it while looking up at avi and winks and walks away and avi just stands there dumbfounded because fuck
-Mitch and avi cuddling and avi kissing mitchs jawline and neck and Mitch being super ticklish and trying to get away and avi just holding Mitch tighter and whispering 'I love you ’ to him and Mitch looking at avi and poking him in the nose and saying 'right back at you ’
Things I realized watching the Spreecast of September 30, 2015
Avin (Avi and Kevin) flirt.
Avin wrote Na Na Na. Can’t Sleep Love has a LOT of writers. Scomiche wrote Sing, Misbehavin, and Goodnight. Scavi wrote Rosegold and Cracked. Scevin wrote Ref and 1st things 1st. Kirvin (Kirstie and Kevin) wrote Water and Take Me Home. Kevin wrote To The River (My favorite song and I’m excited).
Kevi wants me to dance to Butterfly Kisses at the reception.
Mitch might rap Tink’s part on Can’t Sleep Love live in the future.
Avi and Kirstin have a lot in common.
Mitch’s only advice is to drink more water.
Mavi is real.
Kevin likes Final Fantasy. (Avi too)
Scott actually tickles Mitch a lot (and they cuddle standing up).
Kevin talks loud.
We probably never see Avi because he likes keeping secrets (in his cocoon).
Mitch asks for Avi’s answers to questions a lot (Often by not his name).
Mitch says “ye”.
Scomiche teases Avi a lot.
Scott’s that friend that shouts something when you whisper it to him and gets you in trouble.
You know that Avi has a crush on you, but despite you feeling the same way you’ve had had a bad past with relationships so you’re hesitant to get with him
Avi liked you. If nothing else in this world full of lies, you knew this was the gospel truth. At first you had your doubts, but slowly he started making less and less of an effort to cover up his feelings for you. It was obvious enough for everyone to see. The rest of the band has their suspicions until Kevin confirmed it. You had befriended Esther, Avi’s sister, when you moved into the apartment across the hall from hers. The two of you soon clicked and she helped you out considering it was your first time living in the city. She invited you to go on tour with her and Pentatonix to be the merch girl after almost a year of friendship. When you were living across the hall from Esther, you went over to each other’s apartments very often, and since Esther and Avi were so close you saw a lot of him. Esther was the first to realise he had a crush on you, so of course she told you straight away. Of course Avi liking you wasn’t a problem at all, really it was quite the opposite. You had been attracted to Avi since the moment you crossed the threshold to Esther’s apartment to see him sat on the couch, intently watching Game Of Thrones. You knew that at any given moment you could tell Avi you felt the same way about him and you could have a relationship with a breathtakingly talented, handsome and hilarious man, but you just couldn’t. You had a tendancy to fall in love far too quickly, and had to face the consequences. Your last three boyfriends had all cheated on you, and left you heartbroken. You prided yourself on being a strong person, but the last year had left you a broken person. This tour was going to be your saviour.
You headed to the girls’ dressing room backstage at the venue the band were performing at. All of the merch had sold out for the fifth night in a row, so you got to finish early again. You changed out of the Pentatonix merch you had been wearing whilst you were selling it. You changed into some jeans and a loose black jumper, you needed to be comfortable after such a long night, and the venues were freezing backstage. Soon enough you heard excited voices and footsteps echoing down the hallway, indicating that the band had finished the show and were heading back.
The door swung open and an energetic Kirstie burst into the room, shortly followed by Esther. “How was the show?” you asked, laughing as Kirstie bounced around the room, obviously full of adrenaline from the show. “It was great, but I am exhausted” Esther exclaimed, walking over to you and sitting on you. “Esther, there’s another chair right there” you groaned, fidgeting under her weight. “You’re my best friend I’m allowed to sit on you” she laughed back. “Guys, I think tonight’s the night” Kirstie announced, sitting down on the chair next to us. “Tonight? Why?” you asked, suddenly nervous. The three of you, as well as Kevin, Scott and Mitch, had been trying to predict which night it was going to happen all tour. When Kevin finally got Avi to confess his feelings for you to him, Avi told him that he wanted to tell you at some point on the tour, so you were all waiting in anticipation for the night it would happen. “Did you not notice? He was literally looking at you all night” Kirstie exclaimed excitedly, getting up to change out of her show clothes. “I was busy selling the merch, I guess I didn’t realise” you replied, trying to cast your memory back to the times you looked at the stage within the show. “He was totally checking you out for the whole show” Esther confirmed, “Even more than usual” she added. “Oh my god, it’s tonight isn’t it?” you said in realisation. “What are you going to say?” Kirstie asked, sitting back down once she’d changed into something more comfortable. “I don’t know” you said, “I do like him back, it’s just, my past few relationships have really destroyed me and I don’t know if I can risk going through that again”. “I get it, I really do. But Avi is really into you, he isn’t like the other guys you’ve dated” Esther said with a serious tone. “Yeah, he’s a good guy, he won’t hurt you” Kirstie added, looking at me reassuringly. Before you could reply there was a knock at the door.
“Is everybody fully clothed?” Scott shouted from the other side of the door. “Apart from y/n, Avi’s request!” Mitch joked. You heard hushed voices, followed by Mitch apologising. The three of you laughed before calling back, “Everyone’s clothed, even y/n!” Kirstie shouted. The door opened and the boys flooded into the dressing room. Esther jumped up off of your lap, going over to congratulate the guys on the show. Everyone sat down and Avi walked in last, looking around nervously before his eyes landed on you. You smiled at him, feeling butterflies in your stomach. Tonight was the night. He moved his eyes away from you and looked around the room for somewhere to sit down, to see all of the seats had been taken. Before he could say anything, you chimed in, “Do you want to sit down here and I’ll sit on your knee? You could’ve sat on mine but I’m recovering from Esther jumping on me earlier” you offered, laughing, trying to tease him flirtatiously but your nerves were getting the best of you. “Um, ok?” he laughed, walking over to you. You jumped up to let him sit down before gently lowering yourself onto his lap. Your heart skipped a beat. You felt him hesitantly but strongly wrap his arms around your waist, causing your heart to beat so fast you could hear it. “Don’t fall off” he said into your ear, his deep voice sending shivers down your spine. You looked over to see Esther looking at you, her eyebrows raised and a smile spread across her face. “It’s tonight” she mouthed to you. “Oh my god, it’s tonight” you mouthed back.
You all sat and talked for almost an hour, discussing the best parts of the show and how excited you were for the next venue, before some of the venue staff told you you needed to clear out for the cleaners to come in. All of you grabbed your bags and piled out of the venue, headed towards the bus. You sat down once you got in the bus, posting any pictures you took at the show on the band’s instagram whilst you took a moment to collect yourself and calm your nerves. What were you going to say to him? “We’re going out to meet some friends at a bar, are you coming y/n?” Scott said, walking up to you followed by Mitch, Kirstie, Esther and Kevin. “No thanks guys, I’m pretty tired” you replied, yawning. “Ok, make sure you get some rest for tomorrow, Avi are you coming?” he called into the bus. “No, I’m pretty tired too” Avi called back, walking into view. “Well that works out nicely, you can keep each other company while we’re gone, see you later guys” Mitch said, heading out of the door. You and Avi waved goodbye to them, and he sat down next to you. “Don’t have too much fun you two” Esther said, winking before walking out of the door. It was only you and Avi on the bus. It was the night.
“I’m gonna go and change into some pyjamas, do you want to watch a movie?” you suggested, breaking the silence. “Yeah, that would be nice, I think I’ll get changed as well” he answered, getting up and following you to the bunks. You both changed with the agreement to face away from each other, yet you were suspicious he may have peeked once or twice. You returned to the sofa and went through the small selection of films you’d collectively brought on tour, most of which were musicals belonging to Mitch. Failing to find anything either of you wanted to watch, you agreed to let Avi catch up on Game Of Thrones, despite not watching it yourself. “I don’t do great with violence and gore by the way, so I may try to hide behind you at some points” you laughed, trying to stop admiring how attractive he was even in a just t-shirt and sweatpants. “That’s ok, I’ll protect you” he replied, flexing his muscles. He did it jokingly, so you laughed, but it was seriously hot.
You were about halfway through the episode and some kind of battle was going on, you weren’t really paying attention because all you could focus on was how close to Avi you were. Suddenly the show got progressively violent and gory, so you shielded your eyes and turned into his chest. He put his arm around your shoulders and pulled you closer to him, allowing you to hide in the crook of his neck. You stayed like this until the episode ended, Avi turned the TV off and you moved your head from the crook of his neck to face him. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you, y/n” he said after a pause. This was it. What were you going to do? You nodded in response, unable to make words exit your mouth. You liked him but you just didn’t know if you could trust him. “So.. I like you. I’ve liked you ever since I first met you. I know your last few relationships haven’t worked out but I want to be with you” he said, avoiding eye contact with you out of nervousness. “Avi.. I… I feel the same way but I just don’t know if I can do this” you replied. “You feel the same way?” he asked, a smile spreading across his face. You nodded in reply, still unsure what to do. “I’ve been cheated on too many times Avi, I don’t know who I can trust” you said, being torn apart inside. “I’m not going to force you into anything, but I’ll treat you right y/n” he said. “Do you promise?” you said, almost a whisper. He nodded, “I promise”. You leaned in and pressed your lips to his, he automatically responded and kissed you back, his body molding to yours. You pulled away when your phone vibrated in your pocket. You pulled it out to see a text from Esther:
‘Was tonight the night? ♡♡’
Avi read the text over your shoulder and laughed, planting a kiss on your temple.
You texted her back before turning back to face Avi. “So, how do you feel about being my girlfriend?” he asked, his forehead leaning against yours. “I would be honoured” you laughed, planting another kiss on his lips and holding him tightly.
I don’t listen to NPR or talk radio much. I mostly listen to sports radio but almost never watch or listen to the news or anything really substantive. A few months back, my friend and fellow Public Defender, a Sikh Indian named Avi, texted me and told me I had to listen to Serial. I told him that I didn’t have the time to commit an hour or so a week to listen to some podcast. Nevertheless, he continued to urge me to listen, telling me it was about a Muslim teenager who was convicted of murder. I listened to the first episode as I walked to and from court one morning and I was immediately hooked; in fact, I couldn’t stop thinking about the podcast, and more specifically, I couldn’t stop thinking about Adnan Syed.
“There, but for the grace of God, go I.”
Serial resonated with me as a South Asian and as an American Muslim. Adnan and I, both Desis, grew up at the same time, albeit on opposite sides of the country. I graduated high school in 1999, the same year he would’ve graduated but for his arrest. I, like Adnan, played football, was involved in my campus community, was academically driven, had aspirations for higher education and achieved, or tried to achieve, relative levels of high school popularity.
I, like Adnan, came from a religious, conservative, active Muslim family. I, like Adnan, lived a double life; indulging in many of the temptations and realities of high school life while trying to save face at home, at the mosque and in the Muslim community. I was trying to please my parents, and trying to maintain my religion and faith while also being tempted by everything around me, especially the girls. Although weed was everywhere (people literally used to smoke in the middle of the school day in the middle of campus and many of my football and baseball teammates smoked all the time), it really didn’t tempt me. I never succumbed to smoking (or drinking for that matter). But I didn’t have the same strength when it came to girls and trying to be popular. I had my high school crushes and girlfriends which I of course had to hide from my parents which would spawn webs of lies and more lies. I, like Adnan, went to homecoming dances (because I got elected to the royalty court twice), only to get caught by my parents both times after lots of lies. The first time, when I was a sophomore, I told my parents I was going to a sleepover at the gym for my football team. My parents wouldn’t even let me spend the night, so I told them to pick me up at 11. I put on a suit that I covered up with a baggy sweatshirt and sweatpants and then got dropped off at school and then went off to the dance with my date. I got delayed at the dance and my dad ended up waiting for me, and eventually, after sifting through my web of lies, he coaxed it out of me that I was at a dance. He was upset and became even more upset a couple weeks later when he found a school newspaper that had a picture of me while at the dance with the rest of the homecoming court. My senior year, I told my parents I was going to watch a basketball game where one of my Muslim friends was playing. I snuck off to the dance with my date, only to run late again. My parents started to call my friends and their parents and quickly found out that I wasn’t at anyone’s basketball game that night. Caught again.
Adnan, in many ways, is me. We’re both Muslim, the same age, went to high school at the same time and shared many common experiences. Adnan’s story, combined with my own experiences, remind me of the saying, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”
Not guilty but not innocent
In my closing arguments at trial, I illustrate to the jury a spectrum: on one side, innocent, and on the other, guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I describe to the jury that my clients, are, by law, to be presumed innocent. So they start off on the one side of that spectrum: innocent. I tell the jury that it’s the prosecution’s burden to prove my client guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I tell them that they can only convict my client if they’ve ended up on the complete other side of that spectrum: guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I go on to tell them that if they fall anywhere in the middle of that spectrum, they’re to vote not guilty. I tell them that if they think my client is likely innocent, they’re to vote not guilty. I tell them that even if they think my client most likely did it, but harbor any reasonable doubt, they are to vote not guilty.
In the last episode of the podcast, Sarah Koenig described Adnan’s case as a mess. A mess equals reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt equals not guilty.
“Not guilty” and “innocent” are not the same. I once represented a client who was charged with kidnapping and brutally assaulting his ex-girlfriend. My client was accused of surprising the woman in her car, forcing her to drive and then punching her in the eye, breaking her orbital bone. At trial, the woman was incredibly inconsistent and acknowledged lying about many things but was insistent that my client was the culprit. The physical and medical evidence both corroborated and contradicted her claims. At the close of trial, the jury hung 8-4 for not guilty for my client. After the trial, I spoke to the jurors. Many of the 8 who voted not guilty told me they believed my client did it and was an 18 or a 19 on a scale of 20 for guilt but that they couldn’t shake their doubt. They correctly applied the law and voted not guilty even though they had no belief whatsoever that he was “innocent.”
I think Adnan is not guilty, but I harbor doubts about his innocence. Adnan’s answers, or lack thereof, and the fact that Jay had both Adnan’s car and cell phone on the incident date nag me and create hesitation about his absolute innocence. I don’t think he’s anywhere close to an 18 or 19 for guilt on that 20 scale; my thoughts on his culpability fall much closer to the “innocent” side of the spectrum I described, especially given Adnan’s good character, lack of violent history, Jay’s motives to lie and fabricate, and the lack of physical evidence.
Legalities aside, as a Muslim I was always taught to give people the benefit of the doubt; to think of every excuse why a person didn’t commit the crime or sin they’re accused of. And I give Adnan that. I give credit to his word. I believe him.
Can’t help but shake my head
Despite all the flaws in our criminal justice system, I tend to trust juries to do the right thing. As I look back at trials I’ve been honored to participate in as a public defender, I generally believe that juries have gotten things right, even when the result was against me and my clients. I do not believe that I’ve had an innocent client convicted by a jury, with the exception of perhaps one or two, but even with those, I’m not entirely certain. That being said, juries, in my limited experience, will do the right thing and will apply the law, especially holding the prosecution to their burden of proving their cases beyond a reasonable doubt, as long as we as defense attorneys do our jobs. When defense lawyers, public defenders and private attorneys alike are detail oriented, thorough, smart, deliberate, respectful and passionate, juries listen and they apply the law. They will, more often than not, acquit, even in serious, difficult, challenging, emotional cases, provided the defense adequately and appropriately exposes the reasonable doubts in the prosecution’s case and evidence.
As such, the only explanation for a jury convicting Adnan, in just two hours no less, based on the limited, inconsistent and shaky evidence in his case is that Christina Gutierrez failed miserably to do her job. I can’t help but shake my head when I think of her performance that arguably has landed Adnan Syed in prison for the past 15 years.
Among her many failures:
1) She apparently didn’t walk the scene at Best Buy because it wasn’t presented or discussed at trial that the pay phone there potentially didn’t exist.
2) She failed to even interview Asia or her boyfriend to develop Adnan’s potential alibi.
3) She seemingly failed to master and respond to the cell phone evidence.
4) She failed to hammer home to the jury that Jay got a sweet deal that ended with no jail time; one of the jurors interviewed assumed Jay also went to jail and was surprised to learn he didn’t.
5) She berated and harshly handled Jay, a young black man, in front of a majority black jury in Baltimore, making him a sympathetic character rather than adequately painting him as an inconsistent, lying witness with tremendous motives to fabricate and implicate Adnan.
Serial resonates deeply with me as a Public Defender. Sarah Koening has done a remarkable job of being detail oriented with Adnan’s case, uncovering the various flaws of the prosecution’s case and the problems with his defense and trial. The podcast reminds me to be just as detail oriented for my clients to ensure that they receive justice; justice I believe Adnan was deprived of.
A competent, healthy, diligent defense attorney, without any question, would have convinced at least one, or perhaps all, of that jury panel to acquit Adnan Syed in a case with such unreliable and incomplete evidence. I don’t blame Jay, the police or the jury (as much) for Adnan’s conviction. I blame Christina Gutierrez.
Final words… for now
All in all, the podcast makes me sad. Hae Min Lee died a horrible, tragic death. Adnan Syed continues to serve a life sentence for a crime that he perhaps didn’t commit and after a trial where he was robbed of effective assistance of counsel.
Even though the podcast has ended, the story goes on. There was no real way to “end” it. In fact, in many ways, the story is just beginning. Adnan still sits in a Maryland correctional facility. His appeal process isn’t over. The Innocence Project is working up his case. I pray for justice for Adnan, and Hae, even if that justice doesn’t come in this lifetime.