By Tom Williams
In the past few years, cases such as Brendan Dassey (Making a Murderer) and Adnan Syed (Serial) have gone from the courtroom to become pop culture phenomena with millions of Americans Monday morning quarterbacking every turn of their trial. Our first inclination is often to say that these are the extreme outliers. That 99% of the time our justice system gets it right. The sad truth, however, is for every Brendan Dassey or Adnan Syed there are dozens of people wrongfully convicted of crimes whose stories will never see the spotlight.
I learned of Ajay Dev and his rape conviction years before I would meet him or his family. The crime seemed horrendous. However, after reading about the gross inconsistencies in the investigation and trial, mostly through www.advocatesforajay.org and the Davis Vanguard, I began to believe that Ajay was innocent and a victim of a terrible miscarriage of justice.
I have since spent time not only with Ajay in prison, but also with his family members, and have been convinced 100% of his innocence. I have seen first hand the impact it has had among Ajay’s friends and family, as well as the Nepali-American community in California. They have done an amazing job at creating a grassroots awareness of Ajay’s case over the years and building support for an appeal.
With Ajay’s oral arguments for appeal scheduled for October 19, I hope and pray that his original verdict is reversed and he will finally be set free. Ajay’s case will never get the national attention of Dassey or Syed, but as a community we must demand that justice be carried out and an innocent man freed. Ajay is a proud family man. He is generous and kind. The scariest thing about his wrongful conviction is that if this could happen to him, it could very well happen to any of us.