Serial podcast returns for third season focused on Cleveland courts

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CLEVELAND-- The popular, true-crime podcast Serial is returning for a third season.

Host Sarah Koenig spent a year following cases through the Cleveland courts into neighborhoods and prisons to examine the entire criminal justice system. The season will available starting Sept. 20 for free on Pandora, with new episodes released each week.

"If you've listened to Serial before, you probably know that our first season was about a murder case in Baltimore. Ever since that story aired, people have asked me and the people I work with, 'What does that case tell us about the criminal justice system?'" Koenig said the trailer posted to Serial's Facebook page. "The answer is, the case of Adnan Syed wasn't typical in any way: defendant with no criminal record, private defense attorney. Rarest of all, a six-week trial."

"The vast majority of cases don't even go to trial. I don't think we can understand how the criminal justice system works by interrogating one extraordinary case. Ordinary cases are where we'd need to look," Koenig said.

She said she chose Cleveland because of access. She was allowed to record everywhere: courtrooms, hallways, judges' chambers and the prosecutor's office.

In the season's trailer, Koenig briefly described an aggravated robbery case against Greg Rucker in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. She said it had many of the hallmark problems of the criminal justice system: extra charges tacked on, pressure to plead guilty, shoddy police work and sleeping jurors.

"Every case we looked into, there came a time where I said, 'Wait, this can't be happening.' And then it did," Koenig said.

More on Serial Season 3 here

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