With a new trial for “Serial” subject Adnan Syed pending, the attorneys representing the man with the longstanding questionable murder conviction have asked the state to release him on bail.
Towards the beginning of summer, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Martin Welch issued a ruling giving Syed a new trial in which he said the cell phone data used as to prosecute and convict Syed of murder in 2000 murder was unreliable. Welch wrote in his ruling that his attorney should have cross-examined a cell phone tower expert and that they failed to contact a witness who later testified she was with Syed in a library when the murder occurred.
Syed was convicted in 2000 of killing Hae Min Lee, his girlfriend and a Woodlawn High School student who went missing in January 1999.
On Monday, C. Justin Brown and other lawyers submitted a signed motion for Syed to be released on bond while the state sets a new trial date. Syed has been incarcerated for more than 17 years now, and his attorneys says he has been well-behaved the entire time, which they note matches his reputation as a teenager before he was convicted.
“He has no history of violence other than the State’s allegations in this case, and if released he would pose no danger to the community,” the motion reads. “He is also not a flight risk; it makes no sense that he would run from the case he has spent more than half his life trying to disprove.”
Their motion also includes the same detail that Judge Welch noted in his ruling about the cell phone towers and attacks the credibility of the primary witness who helped the State secure Syed’s conviction.
The Maryland Attorney General’s Office previously filed an appeal of Welch’s decision, saying there was no new evidence, legal change or other justification for a new trial for Syed. A spokesperson for the AG’s office said they have not yet received the filed motion. “Once we do, we will review and determine how best to respond,” she wrote.
Syed’s attorneys note in their motion that it could be years before he gets a new trial. With this news, Syed’s supporters will likely be biting their nails as we wait to hear the court’s decision on whether he will be out from behind bars.
Ethan McLeod is an associate editor for Baltimore Fishbowl.