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? […]

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. […]

Post Conviction 101: The Basics

Post Conviction in Maryland.  What it is and what it isn’t.

Post convictions are lost far more often than they are won.  Your post conviction is your last guaranteed opportunity to appear before a judge.  Consult with an experienced attorney.  Call Erica J. Suter at 301.880.7118. Collect calls accepted. ejsuter@ericasuterlaw.com […]