The Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled that Adnan Syed, whose murder conviction was the subject of the popular podcast, “Serial,” will not get a new trial.
The court reinstated Syed’s conviction Friday, agreeing that while his defense was deficient, it “did not prejudice” the case.
“We agree with the conclusion of the Court of Special Appeals that Mr. Syed’s trial counsel’s performance was deficient under the Strickland v. Washington standard in failing to investigate the alibi witness,” the four judges on the court wrote in their conclusion. “We disagree, however, with that court’s conclusion that Mr. Syed was prejudiced by his trial counsel’s deficiency.”
In the dissenting opinion, three of the judges wrote they believed the deficiency was, in fact, prejudicial against Syed and his defense.
Syed was convicted in 2000 of killing his former girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, and burying her body in a shallow grave in Baltimore’s Leakin Park at the age of 17. He was sentenced to life in prison.
His story caught the attention of journalist Sarah Koenig. She interviewed Syed and those connected to him, and further investigated the case for what would become the breakout true-crime podcast “Serial.”
Syed was granted a new trial in 2016, and his conviction was vacated, based on a judge's opinion that his trial attorney failed to question key evidence prosecutors used to help convict Syed.
Following Friday’s ruling, Justin Brown, Syed’s attorney, tweeted: “We will not give up. #FreeAdnan.”