LIFE STYLE

Adnan Syed Has Been Following the Aftermath of Serial Just Like the Rest of Us

Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/Newscom

The last time we heard from Adnan Syed, he was in a West Maryland prison. More than 100 million people listened as he talked to Serial podcast host Sarah Koenig about the 1999 murder of 18-year-old Hae Min Lee. Now, HBO will take another look at the investigation with their series The Case Against Adnan Syed, which premieres March 10 at 9 p.m. The 39-year-old is nearly two decades into his life sentence for kidnapping and strangling his former girlfriend. And though he remains in prison, a lot has changed since the podcast put his case into the spotlight.2016: A Judge Vacates the ConvictionLess than two years after Serial premiered, a Baltimore judge ordered a new trial for Syed. The decision came after a hearing that included an alibi witness who was interviewed in Serial, and a reexamination of cell phone tower evidence which placed Syed in or around Baltimore’s Leakin Park on the night Lee disappeared. Lee’s body was found in that park a month later.

Adnan Syed has been serving a life sentence since 2000.
HBO

Syed’s attorney argued that a disclaimer on the AT&T cell phone records sent to police, which read “Outgoing calls only are reliable for location status. Any incoming calls will NOT be considered reliable information for location,” should have barred prosecutors from using the records, The Guardian reported. The judge agreed. “We have been fighting for this day for, I think it’s been about eight years now, and it’s been a grueling fight, and there have been a lot of disappointments along the way, and there were times when it looked like we had lost,” Syed’s attorney C. Justin Brown told The Baltimore Sun. “But we made it. We got a new trial.” 2018: Maryland’s Highest Court Agrees to Hear AppealIn July 2018, the Court of Appeals in Maryland, the highest court in the state, agreed to review the 2016 decision to consider the alibi issue and the concern over the cell phone tower disclaimer.
Today: Syed Denied a New TrialAs of this month, Syed was still waiting for his new trial, and he’s kept up with the new attention paid to his case in the aftermath of Serial and with the new documentary. “Adnan hears everything about himself from the news. The guards keep him updated. He gets all the newspapers and magazines,” Rabia Chaudry, an attorney and Syed’s childhood friend, said during a TCA panel last month, according to Entertainment Weekly.Chaudry, who was featured in Serial, said the new trial had been encouraging to Syed: “Now he has…a very strong ray of light.”On Friday, however, the Maryland Court of Appeals reinstated his conviction. According to the Baltimore Sun, “The Court of Appeals, on a 4-3 vote, agreed with the lower court that the performance of Syed’s counsel during his initial trial was ‘deficient,’ but disagreed that the deficiency—which was ‘failing to investigate the story of an alibi witness—had prejudiced Syed.”The Case Against Adnan Syed premieres Sunday, March 10 on HBO.

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