| June 8
June 8 Defense lawyers for Adnan Syed, whose
murder conviction was called into question by the 2014 podcast
"Serial," will face off with Maryland prosecutors on Thursday to
argue over whether he should get a new trial.
Syed, 37, is serving a life sentence for the 1999 murder of
his ex-girlfriend and high school classmate, Hae Min Lee. A
Baltimore judge ordered a new trial in June 2016 after the
popular podcast cast doubt on evidence in the case.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh appealed the ruling.
Oral arguments will be heard in Annapolis at the Court of
Special Appeals, the state's second-highest tribunal.
No decision will be issued on Thursday. Syed, who remains in
prison, will not attend.
The prosecutors' appeal argues that the Baltimore judge,
Martin Welch, wrongly allowed new arguments over the reliability
of cellphone location evidence that linked Syed to Lee's death.
Prosecutors also contest Welch's decision to vacate Syed's
conviction because of poor legal representation. Prosecutors say
Syed's lawyer, the late Cristina Gutierrez, had thoroughly
challenged the cellphone evidence and that Syed had already
waived his claim that she was ineffective.
"With or without corroborative cellphone data, the
overwhelming evidence shows the jury's verdict was fair,
reliable and correct," prosecutors said in their appeal.
Syed's lawyers say Gutierrez had declining skills when she
defended him, in what was her last trial, and did not
investigate a potential alibi witness. She agreed to be
disbarred by the Court of Appeals in 2001 because of failing
health, and died in 2004.
"The proper remedy is a new trial," the inmate's legal team
said in a court filing.
The "Serial" podcast on Syed's case was released by public
radio station WBEZ in Chicago and has been downloaded millions
of times. The podcast raised questions about testimony from an
acquaintance of Syed, who claimed Syed told him he planned to
kill Lee and needed his help after the murder, and about phone
calls that linked Syed to the crime.
The appeals court will issue a written opinion at a later
date, the court said in a statement. The ruling could then be
appealed to the Court of Appeals, Maryland's highest court.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Colleen
Jenkins and Jonathan Oatis)