December 28, 2017
We are now approaching seven months and still waiting for a decision from the Court of Special Appeals. In the meantime, I will respond to a follower on Twitter, @Fionaburke76, who asks “why Adnan remains incarcerated when his conviction was overturned?”
After Adnan’s conviction was vacated, we filed a motion seeking his release prior to a new trial. The State of Maryland opposed. We argued that, because Adnan’s conviction was no longer in tact, he should be right back in the place he was before being tried and convicted in 2000. Thus, he should at least be able to go back to court and fight for bail, particularly because, we argued, he was not a flight risk and he was not a danger to society. He should have been given the same chance as someone who still had a presumption of innocence.
The State argued that there was a higher bar to Adnan being released. In the State’s view, the Court should have applied the standard it uses for a person who has been convicted and who applies for bail pending an appeal.
Maryland law is not clear on the question of what standard applies to someone in Adnan’s specific situation. However, the Circuit Court ruled for the State and refused to let Adnan come to court for a bail hearing. We then appealed the Circuit Court’s decision to the Court of Special Appeals, but the appellate court did not grant us “leave to appeal.” With this denial there was nothing else we could do.
Thus, Adnan, remains in prison.
December 14, 2017
Here is the latest on the Syed case: In the summer of 2016, Judge Welch granted a new trial for Adnan. This came after Adnan’s post-conviction proceeding was re-opened. Judge Welch granted the new hearing on the cell tower issue; he found that Adnan’s trial attorney, Cristina Gutierrez, was constitutionally ineffective for failing to cross-examine the State’s cell tower expert with an AT&T document that severely undermined the reliability of the State’s cell tower evidence. In the same opinion, Judge Welch also denied Syed’s alibi claim. He found that Gutierrez was deficient for not investigating or contacting alibi witness Asia McClain, but that the failure to do so did not prejudice the trial.
The State of Maryland appealed the granting of the new trial (and Syed appealed the denial of the alibi claim). The parties briefed the issues and the Court of Special Appeals (a panel of three judges) held oral arguments on June 8, 2017. We are now awaiting the Court of Special Appeals’ decision. As soon as an opinion is released, we will make it public.