Serial Case Comes Up for Appeal

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As we’ve detailed before, we’re big fans of Sarah Koenig’s podcast Serial, which explores a 15-year-old murder of a Baltimore high school student, possibly at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed.

As we eagerly await the next episode (Thursday Thursday Thursday!!!), it’s interesting to hear about how things are playing out in the courts apart from Koenig’s own investigation. According to NBC Washington, Syed’s “last best chance” at getting out of prison is a hearing that’s scheduled for next month. (Syed was convicted of first-degree murder in 2000 and was sentenced to life in prison.)

Part of Syed’s appeal hinges on a point that Koenig has explored in Serial: That his defense attorney failed to explore a potential alibi witness, Asia McClain, who says she was hanging out with Syed at the library at the time of the murder. Syed’s lawyer also failed to seek a plea deal. These and other issues add up to ineffective counsel, according to Syed’s current attorney C. Justin Brown.

The fact that the Maryland Court of Special Appeals is reviewing the case is “an unusual phenomenon,” Brown says, in that it’s “more than they usually do in this procedural posture. But I truly think the appellate courts make their decisions based on the merits of the case, and not the popularity of a podcast.”

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