Adnan Syed, subject of ‘Serial’ podcast, will not get a new trial
Maryland’s Court of Appeals has ruled that Adnan Syed, whose murder conviction was the focus of the first season of the popular “Serial” podcast, will not get a new trial.
The Court of Appeals reinstated the conviction by reversing a March 2018 ruling by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. That court had ordered a new trial for Syed, who is serving a life sentence in the slaying of his ex-girlfriend.
Adnan had argued that he had ineffective counsel because his former defense lawyer didn’t interview an alibi witness.
But in a ruling released Friday, the Maryland Court of Appeals said that because of “the totality of the evidence” against Syed, there was not “a significant or substantial possibility that the jury would have reached a different verdict had his trial counsel presented the alibi witness.”
His current attorney, Justin Brown, issued this statement: “We are devastated by the Court of Appeals’ decision but we will not give up on Adnan Syed. Unfortunately, we live in a binary criminal justice system in which you either win or you lose. Today we lost by a 4-3 vote.”
Hae Min Lee and Syed were seniors at Woodlawn in Baltimore County in January 1999, when she disappeared. Her body was discovered in a city forest three weeks later.
A jury in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City convicted Syed of first-degree murder, robbery, kidnapping and false imprisonment on February 25, 2000.
In 2016, a Baltimore Circuit Court judge vacated Syed’s conviction and ordered a new trial, based on claims that Syed’s trial lawyer failed to cross-examine the expert witness about the reliability of cell tower location evidence.
The state appealed the 2016 order, leading to a March 2018 ruling by the special appeals court ordering a new trial.
HBO will premiere a documentary, “The Case Against Adnan Syed,” on Sunday. Like CNN, the network is a unit of WarnerMedia.
By Ralph Ellis, CNN