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


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



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.