May 14, 2018
Today the State filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the Maryland Court of Appeals. Essentially, the State is asking Maryland’s highest court to allow it to appeal — once more — the decision to grant Adnan Syed a new trial. This move by the State does not come as a surprise to us. The State is appealing the alibi issue, in which the Court of Special Appeals found that Adnan’s trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to investigate the alibi witness Asia McClain.
The flip side to the State’s latest appeal is that we can also appeal. If we choose to do so, we would file a conditional cross-petition for writ of certiorari. We would be telling the court that, if it reviews the State’s issue, we would like it to also review the cell tower issue, which was denied by the Court of Special Appeals on the grounds of waiver. We would have to file within 15 days of today.
When the judges of the Court of Appeals receive both petitions, they will vote and reach a decision as to whether they will hear either the State’s issue alone, both issues, or nothing at all. In normal cases it is difficult to get a petition for certiorari granted.
While we appreciate and respect the State’s right to keep appealing, we are eager to take the case to trial and give Adnan the fair trial he is guaranteed under the Constitution.
April 30, 2018
We expect the mandate to issue today in the Court of Special Appeals’ ruling affirming the Circuit Court’s granting of a new trial for Syed. If it does issue today, the State would have 15 days to file a petition for writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals, which is the highest court in Maryland. If the State does seek cert, which it has not yet said it would, Syed could file a “conditional cross-appeal” challenging the part of the Court of Special Appeals ruling that went against him.
If the State does not file a petition for certiorari, the case would move down to the Circuit Court (trial court) and be set in for a new trial date.
March 30, 2018
Yesterday was a great day. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled in our favor and upheld the Baltimore City Circuit Court’s ruling granting Adnan Syed a new trial. Now it is up to the State of Maryland to decide whether they will appeal again. Here is a link the the latest opinion: APPELLATE OPINION
We are humbled by all of the support that has poured in from all over the world. It’s been amazing to experience.
We will continue to update this page as the case moves forward. #FreeAdnan
March 26, 2018
We have been inundated with questions about what is going on in the Adnan Syed case. Here is the latest: We are still waiting on the Court of Special Appeals to issue an opinion. Oral arguments were held on June 8, 2017, so it has been almost 10 months. The Court of Special Appeals is being asked to review the order by Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Martin Welch granting Syed a new trial. The Court of Special Appeals is the second highest court in Maryland. Above it is the Court of Appeals. We are hopeful that the Court of Special Appeals will rule in our favor and that it will not be necessary to seek additional appellate review. But, for now, all we can do is wait and see.
Of course, as soon as we have an answer from the Court of Special Appeals, we will make it public.
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.