Subject of “Serial” Podcast Could See His Murder Conviction Overturned
Fifteen years into his life sentence, Adnan Syed may see his conviction overturned. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has remanded his case to trial court, effectively granting him a new evidentiary hearing wherein the court will finally hear testimony by a key witness and possible alibi. The break comes after his case garnered national attention last year when it was featured on the wildly popular weekly podcast series, Serial.
Syed was a popular high school senior when he was convicted for the 1999 murder of his former girlfriend, 18-year-old Hae Min Lee. Eighteen months after the killing, Syed was sentenced to life plus 30 years for first-degree murder, kidnapping, and related charges. Syed, who has always maintained his innocence, made his first attempt at appeal immediately following his conviction. When that failed, he filed a petition for writ of certiorari in 2003, asking the Supreme Court to review the Appellate Court’s denial of his appeal. This too was unsuccessful.
After serving ten years, Syed filed a petition for post-conviction relief in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, claiming ineffective counsel on the part of his trial attorney because, among other things, she failed to present the testimony of a potential alibi. The court again denied his request and in 2014, he filed an application for leave to appeal requesting his case be remanded to Circuit Court for additional fact-finding review of the potential alibi.
Case Remanded on Appeal to Lower Court
This time, Syed filed a supplement to his application, setting forth details regarding the costly mistakes made by his original defense attorney. He attached an affidavit written by a former classmate reaffirming that she had been with Syed at or around the time that the State claimed he was strangling his ex-girlfriend. In her affidavit, the woman stated that Syed’s original defense attorney knew about her claims during the original trial, but never called on her to testify. The woman also claimed that the Assistant State’s Attorney involved in the case discouraged her from participating in any of Syed’s post-conviction hearings.
After reviewing both sides of the case, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals agreed that it is in the interest of justice to remand the case on appeal to the lower court. Syed still has a long way to go before his conviction is overturned. These types of cases rarely succeed, especially given the amount of time that has passed, but Syed’s lawyers are optimistic that in light of new witness testimony and evidence of prosecutorial misconduct, this will pave the way to a new trial.
Camden County Criminal Lawyer Jill R. Cohen Assists Those Who Have Been Wrongfully Convicted
Camden County criminal lawyer, Jill R. Cohen has helped countless individuals get a second chance at justice through the appellate process. If you would like to discuss the possibility of appealing your criminal conviction, call the Law Offices of Jill R. Cohen today to schedule a free consultation or contact us online. Our offices are located in Westmont, New Jersey, assisting clients in Cherry Hill, Westmont and Haddonfield, and throughout Camden County, Gloucester County, Atlantic County, Salem County, Burlington County, Cumberland County, Mercer County, and Camden City.