The ongoing case of Adnan Syed, whose gripping story was the centerpiece of the first season of the podcast “Serial,” is set to take another turn Thursday when he appears in front of Maryland’s highest court to ask for a new trial.
A lawyer defending Syed will argue in favor of a previous ruling that their client should be given a new trial at the Court of Appeals.
He has spent the last 18 years behind bars; in 2000, he was sentenced to life after being convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend and classmate Hae Min Lee after she was found buried in a shallow grave in Baltimore.
Syed has consistently maintained his innocence — long before his case was thrust into the national spotlight in 2014 as the subject of the runaway hit podcast "Serial."
Syed's newest attorney claims his original trial lawyer failed to look into a potential alibi witness, according to WBAL-TV in Baltimore. That witness, Asia McClain Chapman, has said that she spotted Syed at a library at the same time prosecutors claimed he killed Lee.
Arguments heard on Thursday will discuss whether or not Syed's original defense team failed in neglecting to interview that potential witness; the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled failure to interview Chapman violated Syed’s Sixth Amendment guarantee of effective assistance of counsel, according to the Baltimore Sun.
That original lawyer, Maria Cristina Gutierrez, has since died.
Whether or not the court will allow Syed's attorney to challenge cellphone tower location data used during the trial, an issue highlighted in “Serial,” is also expected to be debated on Thursday, according to WBAL-TV. In recent years, Syed’s defense has argued that the information used in court pertaining to incoming call data was unreliable, according to a CBS News report from 2016. They added that the data only reflected outgoing calls.
Earlier this year, the Court of Special Appeals upheld a decision that Syed deserves a new trial; previously, in 2016, a Baltimore judge vacated Syed’s conviction and also ordered a new trial, according to The Associated Press.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]
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