Maryland's Court of Appeals reinstates 'Serial' podcast subject's conviction

Adnan Syed was convicted of killing his former girlfriend Hae Min Lee nearly two decades ago

PopSugar Adnan Syed was convicted of killing his former girlfriend Hae Min Lee nearly two decades ago

While still a high school student, Syed was tried as an adult and sentenced to life plus 30 years in prison.

Host Sarah Koenig spent the first season chronicling events surrounding the murder of Syed's former girlfriend Hae Min Lee, his Woodlawn High School classmate whose body was found in Baltimore's Leakin Park.

The opinion from the Court of Appeals reverses the ruling made by a lower appellate court a year ago.

Unfortunately we live in a binary criminal justice system in which you either win or you lose. He wrote on Friday that they won't give up, but also voiced frustration with the 4-3 ruling. On Sunday night (March 10), the first episode of a new four-part documentary about this riveting mystery, The Case Against Adnan Syed, premieres on HBO. Her body was found nearly a month later buried in the city's Leakin Park.

Convicted murderer Adnan Syed leaves the Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse in Baltimore, Maryland February 5, 2016. During the trial one of his friends, Jay Wilds, testified that he helped Syed dig a hole for Lee's body. Stetson argued the attorney had failed her client by not calling the witness - a violation of his right to effective counsel.

The high court reviewed whether Syed's attorney, the late M. Cristina Gutierrez, was wrong to pursue an alibi strategy without speaking to one potential witness. She later recanted with the prosecution claiming Syed's family pressured the then-teenager.

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The decision followed a lower court ruling to grant a new trial to Adnan Syed on charges of murdering his former girlfriend, after the podcast, produced by Chicago public radio station WBEZ, revealed evidence that he had received an ineffective defense.

Ayed's laywer disagreed, saying, "There was a credible alibi witness who was with Adnan at the precise time of the murder and now the Court of Appeals has said that witness would not have affected the outcome of the proceeding". We think just the opposite is true.

"From the perspective of the defendant, there is no stronger evidence than an alibi witness", Brown said on Friday.

Concerning the cell tower evidence, the court of appeals said Ayed had not raised that issue when he argued ineffective counsel in an earlier appeal. This reverses a ruling from the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, a lower court. Thanks to the media attention from Serial and the discovery of new evidence, Syed's guilt was called into question, leading to his original conviction being overturned in 2016.

With this in mind, HBO's "The Case Against Adnan Syed" couldn't have come at a better time.

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