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[…]

Motion Gavel

Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence

Under Maryland Rule 4-345(a) an illegal sentence may be corrected at any time. You file a Motion to Correct Illegal Sentence in the court where your trial or plea took place.  It is typically ruled on by the judge who heard your case or the judge who inherits your sentencing judge’s docket.  You are not[…]

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? […]

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? […]

Brady Violations: A Quick Primer

     I’ll translate this into plain language in an update to this post, but here are the fundamentals of Brady: In Brady v. Maryland, the United States Supreme Court held that the state’s suppression of exculpatory evidence at trial violates the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. To prevail on a Brady claim, Petitioner[…]

The Danger of Loud and Wrong: a Public Service Announcement

    “Loud and wrong” is an expression of which I’m rather fond.  It applies when someone is equal parts incorrect and adamant that they are right.  Another way to describe this state of being is confident and uninformed or my personal favorite, “Strong with no money.”  Though I harbor a certain, peculiar admiration for the kind of person who is so completely without shame, self reflection, or concern that they could be making an utter fool of themselves, this behavior presents a genuine danger to clients and attorneys. […]

Recent Cases from the Maryland Court of Appeals and Court of Special Appeals

Below are some recently decided criminal law cases from the Maryland Court of Appeals and the Court of Special Appeals.  Coming soon- I will post about Petitions for Writ Actual Innocence and the body of case law that is developing on the issue.  Two of the most recent decisions on Petitions for Writ of Actual Innocence were decided recently and are covered below. […]