adnan syed

Part 2: The Alibi Issue

It is our opinion that, if McClain’s testimony had been presented to the jury, it would have “alter[ed] the entire evidentiary picture,” because her testimony would have placed Syed at the Woodlawn Public Library at the time the State claimed that Syed murdered Hae. See Strickland, 466 U.S. at 696. Such testimony would have directly[…]

adnan syed

Part 1: Syed v. State: The Significance of the Latest Decision by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals

Because Syed has proven the performance and prejudice prongs of the Strickland test, we conclude that his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel has been established. Accordingly, Syed’s murder conviction must be vacated, and because Syed’s convictions for kidnapping, robbery, and false imprisonment are predicated on his commission of Hae’s murder, these convictions must be[…]

adnan syed serial

Oral Argument in State of Maryland v. Adnan Syed:

I wanted to get this out sooner, but I’ve been swamped with my own cases.  By now, much has already been written and discussed regarding oral argument in State v. Syed.  Journalists published their articles that day and you can now purchase an audio of the arguments from the Court of Special Appeals and draw your own conclusions. So, I’ll try and narrow my focus a bit.  […]

adnan syed serial

What’s Next for Adnan Syed? [UPDATE]

There has been much paper pushed back and forth as of late in the battle to secure Adnan Syed a new trial.  In this post I’m going to walk you through what has been filed and what to expect next.  Without requiring you to read all the way to the end to learn the bottom line- though I’d love it if you would- I think we can expect one more filing from the State.  If you want to view all of the key documents, Undisclosed Wiki is  a great resource. […]

Post Conviction Relief Granted for Adnan Syed

On June 30, 2016, the Circuit Court for Baltimore City granted relief in Adnan Syed v. State. You can read the Court’s 59 page Memorandum Opinion and Order at the end of this post.  I’m going to attempt to bottom line the key points in the Court’s opinion.

There were three issues before the Court:

  1.  Did Mr. Syed’s trial counsel render ineffective assistance in failing to contact Asia McClain as a potential alibi witness?
  2.  Did the State fail to turn over documents to defense as required by law?
  3.  Did trial counsel render ineffective assistance in failing to challenge the reliability of the State’s cell tower location evidence

The Court denied relief on the first two claims, but granted relief as to the third claim.  You only need to win on one issue to win a new trial.  Mr. Syed did not need to will on all of the claims in order to ultimately prevail.

Did Mr. Syed’s trial counsel render ineffective assistance in failing to contact Asia McClain as a potential alibi witness? […]

Improper Closing Argument [UPDATE]

UPDATE: On November 7, 2016, the Court of Special Appeals GRANTED the Application for Leave to Appeal the Denial of Post Conviction Relief in my client’s case!  I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to fight for my client.  The Court’s Order is below.  The granting of an Application for Leave to Appeal is rare.  According to C. Justin Brown, between 2010 and 2014 the Court of Special Appeals granted just 1.22% of all of the Applications filed.

Recently, the Court of Special Appeals ordered the State to respond to the Application for Leave to Appeal the Denial of Post Conviction Relief in one of my cases.  You can read more about ALA’s in general, here.   I’ve posted the Court’s order and my Application for Leave to Appeal below.  The Court’s order is the first step toward getting the ALA granted.  After the State responds, the Court could set the matter in for full briefing and oral argument, it could deny the ALA, or it could grant the ALA based on the pleadings alone. […]

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Part 3:

Most everyone has heard of the standard of proof in a criminal prosecution, “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  It is the highest standard of proof in our legal system.  It was the standard of proof that applied during Adnan Syed’s trial.  The State was tasked with persuading the jury that Mr. Syed was guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt and Mr. Syed was presumed innocent until the State satisfied its burden of proof. […]

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Part 2:

So let’s talk about prejudice and post conviction.  Yesterday’s post discussed deficient performance, a serious mistake, the first prong of Strickland.  The second part of the test involves “prejudice,”  and we’re not talking about the kind meant by #Oscarssowhite.  What does the case law say? […]

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel:

I recently offered to try and answer questions on twitter regarding the post conviction proceedings in Adnan Syed’s case. I thought it might be helpful to answer some of the questions on my blog and provide some legal background.  I’m going to try and do this in multiple posts to make the information easier to digest and to keep you from glazing over.  As a caveat, I have not been present for the  multi-day hearing and I’m not totally informed on the evidence that has come out in court, but as most of you know- there is some fantastic coverage out there.  I’ve particularly enjoyed the coverage on the Frisky. […]