Trial Transcripts – Missing Pages
After Adnan’s trial, his parents purchased a set of the trial transcripts from the courts. These were used by several different legal teams, over several rounds of legal appeals. In 2014 Adnan’s parents lent the papers to Sarah Koenig. Sarah used them in her research for Serial along with other documents provided by the Rahmans, Baltimore Police Department and other sources.
The Serial team scanned the documents and at some point shared the electronic copies they had made with Adnan’s parents. They in turn allowed Rabia to share them with readers of her blog SplitTheMoon.com. At that stage it became clear that some pages were missing from the digital version of the transcripts.
After Serial made Adnan’s case so widely know, there was a lot of public interest. A number of enterprising folks tried to get copies of the missing parts from various Maryland public institutions, using Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) requests, but reported back that either the requests were denied either because the files were in use, or that the cost was prohibitive. Eventually (an anonymous) someone was successful and posted the missing pages online. Some volunteers reintegrated the missing pages into the transcripts, so the files are as complete as they can be.
Unfortunately a small number of pages are still missing. The (unconfirmed) institution had some transcripts that were in slightly different to the Rahman’s copies. That is unusual, but we don’t know why it could be, only that it results in the line numbering and page numbering being slightly out of sync sometimes. Unfortunately the knock on effect is that the page numbers didn’t quite match up: some parts remain missing.
For the missing Dec 8, 1999, (Trial one, Day one) transcript, the explanation is probably even simpler. Either no-one noticed it was missing, or perhaps no-one cared so it just wasn’t on the request list.