Since being publicized in the smash hit podcast Serial, the case of Adnan Syed has fascinated many. Now, after years of appeals following his 2000 trial, the Baltimore man who was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, will receive a new trial after a Maryland appeals court ruling. In its ruling, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals found that Syed didn’t receive effective assistance during his trial, and his convictions will be vacated, pending the results of new court proceedings.
In 2016, a lower Maryland court overturned Syed’s conviction and ordered a new trial (though Syed was later denied bail, keeping him behind bars), and prosecutors appealed, which is how today’s decision plays into things. According to the court, Syed’s defense attorney had failed to cross examine a key witness. Here’s more from CBS News:
In a 2-1 ruling, the three-judge appeals court panel agreed with Syed’s current lawyer that his trial lawyer was ineffective for failing to investigate a potential alibi witness who said she saw Syed at a public library at the time the state claimed Syed killed Hae.
The panel said in its written decision that if testimony from Asia McClain had been presented to the jury, it would have “directly contradicted the State’s theory of when Syed had the opportunity and did murder Hae” and could have created reasonable doubt in at least one juror’s mind and led to a different outcome.
While no one knows for sure whether prosecutors will appeal this case (dependent largely upon already introduced evidence) to the Maryland Supreme Court, Syed’s lawyer, C. Justin Brown is taking no chances. He urged them to retry the case instead. “If the state is so confident in their case,” Brown argued. “And if they’re so confident that Syed is guilty, they should just try the case. We’re ready to try the case.”
(Via CBS News)