CALL 205.538.3340

The Law Office of J.D. Lloyd Logo Because There’s Hope After the Trial


After The Trial Blog

The After The Trial blog presents insights on ongoing and recent trials around the state of Alabama, including weekly criminal law round-ups.

Adnan Syed of "Serial" Granted New Trial

J.D. Lloyd - Thursday, March 29, 2018

(Image Credit: Getty Images)


In the ongoing case of Adnan Syed, made famous by NPR's "Serial" podcast, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals has ruled in Adnan's favor and has ordered that he be granted a new trial. In a long decision, the Court determined that Adnan's trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to investigate Asia McClain, a witness who purportedly could have provided Adnan with a crucial alibi for the window of time he was allegedly killing Hae Min Lee in a Best Buy parking lot.



The case was on appeal by both Adnan and the State of Maryland. In the Baltimore City Circuit Court, Adnan had been granted a new trial based upon counsel's failure to question the State's cell phone tower data expert about a warning on a fax cover sheet to the data that warned about the data's unreliability. The circuit court had rejected the claim that counsel was ineffective for failing to investigate Asia. Both sides appealed their adverse rulings.


And both sides won. The Court of Special Appeals reached the opposite conclusions than that of the Baltimore City Circuit Court. The Court found the circuit court was wrong to grant Adnan relief on the fax cover sheet issue, but was also wrong to deny relief based on counsel's failure to investigate Asia's alibi. The Court explained:
McClain’s testimony, if believed by the trier of fact, would have made it impossible for Syed to have murdered Hae. Trial counsel’s deficient performance prejudiced Syed’s defense, because, but for trial counsel’s failure to investigate, there is a reasonable probability that McClain’s alibi testimony would have raised a reasonable doubt in the mind of at least one juror about Syed’s involvement Hae’s murder, and thus “the result of the proceedings would have been different."


When you're complaining that your trial counsel screwed up and denied you your Sixth Amendment right to effective representation, you have to show two things: (1) that some error occurred, and (2) that the error prejudiced you in a way that calls the results of the case into question. You have to show a "reasonable probability" that the results of trial would have been different. You don't have to prove innocence (it helps), but you've got to show more than just "this hurt my case." Here, it's easy to see how a jury could have believed an alibi about Adnan's whereabouts. There was no definitive evidence about where he was -- just circumstantial evidence that was dubious.


I don't practice in Maryland and am not well-versed in Maryland appellate procedure, but it looks like the State (or Adnan) might ask a higher court -- the Maryland Court of Appeals -- to review the decision. It doesn't look like either side has a right to appeal to this court and would have to ask for that court to review.


Like you, I'm anxiously awaiting a Sarah Koenig update...


Recent Posts


clarence thomas ake v oklahoma underage drinking brookside alabama eleventh circuit ruling albertville alabama debtor prison fraud Guy Terrell Junior brendan dassey burglary Hillary Clinton, christian guitierez arson huntsville alabama morris alabama Wesley Adam Whitworth calhoun county alabama shooting ferguson missouri birmingham alabama drug busts stoves v state death penalty russell calhoun brendan dassey, steve avery, making a murderer, scotus, netflix dothan alabama executions blountsville alabama US Supreme Court Update negligent homicide state of alabama 2016 election, concealed carry serial Eutaw Alabama eric sterling Kay Ivey fraudulent checks legende v state lethal injection drugs fourth amendment criminal justice greene county alabama mobile alabama New York Times beylund v north dakota court of criminal appeals mike gilotti drug crimes decatur alabama anniston alabama, kimberly alabama springville alabama utah v strieff gadsden alabama Xavier Beasley Woods v State apprendi v new jersey fake kidnapping, making a murderer alabama domestic abuse foley alabama Alonzo Ephraim netflix stanley brent chapman mountain brook alabama jerry bohannon endangerment of a child mulga alabama Jefferson County Alabama Shonda Walker, st clair county alabama implied consent forced isolation sixth amendment attempted murder capital murder florence alabama assault embezzlement dekalb county alabama shoplifting capital punishment alabama criminal law roundup editorial asia mcclain fort payne alabama trussville alabama hoax destructive devices south carolina court systems, marion county betton v state hurst mandamus Malone v State parole eugene lee jones v state Ingmire v State mount olive alabama avondale alabama Tommy Arthur church robberies Adamsville alabama maryland court of special appeals department of justice road rage hoover alabama street racing cullman alabama banville v state 28 U.S.C. § 2254 sheffield v state shooting death talladega superspeedway Lucky D Arcade mcwilliams v dunn capital offenses Neil Gorsuch pruitt v state animal cruelty abuse death penalty, kenneth eugene billups Fentanyl fultondale alabama sentencing law and policy blog summaries West Alabama theft identity theft robberies montgomery alabama benjamin todd acton illegal gun carry heritage christian university drug smuggling Samuel Alito eighth amendment, warrantless blood draws crime of passion gun control Kareem Dacar Gaymon drug trafficking, midazolam nicholas hawkins Rule 32 self defense lethal injection Easter john earle redfearn IV v state LWOP Briarwood Presbyterian Church limestone county alabama Benn v State ring v arizona abduction keith v state peyton pruitt public assistance fraud levins v state Sardis Alabama criminal mischief campbell v state homicide rate Stephen Breyer rainbow city alabama breaking and entering car accident npr warrior alabama alabama supreme court alfonso morris illegal gambling constitutional violations operation crackdown Dylann Roof bailey v us terell corey mcmullin Joshua Reese hurst v florida nathan woods bernard v north dakota William Pryor domestic violence mccalla alabama sexual assault fairfield alabama, aziz sayyed boaz alabama minor offenses Justice Sotomayor drug seizure tuscaloosa alabama alabama law enforcement agency operation bullseye prostitution sting moving violations adnan syed, lauderdale county alabama department of justice, blount county alabama § 13A-3-23 huntsville abandonment homicide christmas shooting strickland v washington second amendment edwards v arizona criminal justice reform, CCA update the mannequin challenge economic growth shelby county bomb threat drug possession, home repair fraud judicial override dora alabama utah supreme court Pleasant Grove Alabama felony assaults pell city alabama ex parte briseno morgan county alabama cherokee county alabama OJ Simpson kidnapping birchfield v north dakota SCOTUS, habeas corpus relief Tracie Todd Glaze v State Gardendale Alabama unlawful manufacturing smith v state Etowah County Alabama, hanceville alabama Marengo County Alabama theft of property murder Thomas Hardiman § 13A-3-23(d) immunity hearing court of criminal appeal releases hall v florida debit card skimming scams tarrant alabama moore v texas steve avery aiding and abetting heflin alabama baltimore city circuit court texas brady v maryland oneonta alabama Alabaster alabama Walker County Alabama social media narcotics investigation lamar county Mike Hubbard scotus gun rights battles v state madison alabama bessemer alabama armed robbery towles v state constitutional law, pelham alabama drug activity adger alabama OJ Simpson Made in America state of arizona baldwin county alabama Donald Trump, pinson alabama sarah koenig brian fredick lucas



These recoveries and testimonials are not an indication of future results. Every case is different, and regardless of what friends, family, or other individuals may say about what a case is worth, each case must be evaluated on its own facts and circumstances as they apply to the law. The valuation of a case depends on the facts, the injuries, the jurisdiction, the venue, the witnesses, the parties, and the testimony, among  other factors. Furthermore, no representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

Get Free Legal Advice  Contact us for a complimentary legal consultation

I am interested in scheduling a free legal consultation and receiving additional information.

Submitting Form...

The server encountered an error.

Thank you, your  entry has been  received.

© 2017 The Law Office of J.D. Lloyd, LLC. All Rights Reserved. |


As required by Rule 7.2(e), Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct, no representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.