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B & N BLOG

The Firm is happy to announce that today we defeated a life sentence in federal court. Eleven years ago, while represented by different counsel, D.E. was sentenced to life imprisonment for a non-violent drug offense. Because he had at least two prior drug convictions, he received a mandatory life sentence, without the possibility of parole. It appeared as if he would die in a federal penitentiary. This morning, with his family watching from the gallery,

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Two prominent criminal defense organizations have moved for leave to file an amicus curiae brief on behalf of Adnan Syed, urging the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to deny the State’s appeal and push the case forward toward a new trial. The brief, drafted by Steven Klepper of Kramon & Graham in Baltimore, does not take a side on Syed’s guilt or innocence but notes that “[t]he only satisfactory way to resolve the debate between the believers

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Adnan Syed responded today to the State’s recent filings in which the State seeks (1) an appeal of Judge Welch’s order granting a new trial; and (2) a remand of the case back to the circuit court so the State can introduce the testimony of two impeachment witnesses. Syed’s filings urge the Court of Special Appeals to reject the State’s arguments. Justin Brown, Syed’s lead counsel, issues the following statement: “What we are saying in our filings

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Syed today filed his conditional application for leave to cross appeal. Essentially, we are asking the Court of Special Appeals that, if it hears the State’s appeal of Judge Welch’s Order, we also want to appeal. The state wants to appeal the cell tower issue, upon which the new trial was granted, and we would want to appeal the alibi issue. Here is a link to the filing: Cross ALA (FINAL)

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Brown & Nieto is happy to announce that Hogan Lovells will join the Adnan Syed defense team as pro bono co-counsel. Hogan Lovells is a fantastic international firm with great lawyers and deep resources. They are one of the best large firms in the country, and they have deep ties to Baltimore. They are also experienced in innocence cases. As this case becomes more and more complicated, we felt that our team would benefit from bringing in reinforcements.

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In the past two years we have heard that Congress is on the brink of passing legislation that would reform our criminal justice system — by shifting away from the practice of warehousing drug offenders in prison, and moving in the direction of rehabilitation. This was one thing, it was reported, upon which Republicans and Democrats could agree. Well, here in the last year of the Obama Administration, that appears to be nothing more than

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Petitioner Adnan Syed filed a post-hearing Motion today to supplement the post-conviction record with two letters that were sent to the Court. One letter was sent by the State; the other was sent by University of Maryland Law School professor Michael Millemann. Here is the filing, with letters attached, by link: FILING and embedded:

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Brown & Nieto won an important coram nobis proceeding this month that could take a decade off a client’s sentence in federal court. Leonard Shelley was facing a mandatory 15-year federal sentence as an “Armed Career Criminal.” This was in large part based on his prior convictions in state court – essentially a three-strikes sentencing enhancement that applies to certain federal offenders. He hired Brown & Nieto to attack one of the prior state convictions

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I recently spent the better part of five days sitting next to Adnan Syed. I had known him for about seven years, but this was the most time we had ever spent together. He was shackled in a four-point restraint so he could barely move. It must have been very uncomfortable. If it had been me, my legs and back would have cramped. Adnan insisted he was fine, and in the course of five days

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