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


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



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.