adnan syed serial

Adnan Syed and the Appeal of the Post Conviction Decision:

As you know, on June 30, 2016, the post conviction court vacated Adnan Syed’s convictions and granted him a new trial.  The post conviction court found that Syed’s trial counsel’s failure to cross examine the State’s expert  on the unreliability of incoming call cell phone data  was deficient and that that error created a substantial possibility that the result of the trial would have been different.  […]

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. […]

Rolling Stone Covers Latest Developments in Adnan Syed

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with journalist Amelia McDonell-Perry about the Adnan Syed case.  Here is her coverage in Rolling Stone on the latest developments in the case. http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/serial-can-the-state-stop-adnan-syeds-new-murder-trial-w432267

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. […]

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. […]

Motion to Reopen a Closed Post Conviction

     Under the current law in Maryland you are entitled to only one post conviction petition and one hearing on that petition.  If you have lost your post conviction petition and your Application for Leave to Appeal from the denial of your post conviction, you next option may be to file a Motion to Reopen a closed post conviction.  A Motion to Reopen is filed in the circuit court.  Oftentimes, it goes back to the judge who denied the post conviction petition.  In some counties, there is a single judge who reviews all Motions to Reopen and decides whether it will be denied or be assigned to a judge to consider the merits.  The applicable standard in determining whether to reopen a closed post conviction is “in the interests of justice.”  In other words, the court must ask, is it in the interests of justice to give this person another chance to argue that something went wrong with the trial or guilty plea.  This standard is a broad, ill-defined standard, but one recognized basis is ineffective assistance of post conviction counsel. […]