Magazine August 14, 2017, Issue

Simplify the Law

Serial podcast subject Adnan Syed (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
An attorney shouldn’t be needed for every case

As fans of the podcast Serial will recall, Baltimore teenager Adnan Syed was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. The state’s case suffered from serious weaknesses: The government’s main witness was involved in burying the body, police had threatened to charge him unless he implicated Syed in the killing, he admitted to lying repeatedly to avoid blame, and his story conflicted with cell-phone call records. Syed was found guilty nonetheless.

Readers familiar with the U.S. Constitution should find this puzzling. America is a nation founded on justice and the rule of law. We declared independence from England in part

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

The Radical

Long after Henry David Thoreau’s death in 1862, Walt Whitman praised him for his “lawlessness — his dissent — his going his own absolute road let hell blaze all it chooses.”


The Week

The Week

‐ George Romero, 1940 –2017. Rest in peace — please. ‐ The New York Times has revealed that, in June 2016, Donald Trump Jr. got an e-mail from Rob Goldstone, a ...
Politics & Policy


THE CUSP OF SUMMER Geese in skies are on the wing. The pointed flock, triangle-shaped, Announce with honks the start of spring When tall green trees are softly draped. Trumpeting starts off everything Once more. Black ...


A Bleak Future for Wage Growth Robert VerBruggen’s “conundrum” about wage-growth stalling (“A Wage-Growth Conundrum,” July 31) clears up when you realize that the categories of capital, labor, and productivity as ...


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