"Serial" update: Adnan Syed's latest appeal pending (updated)

The appeal, along with the Innocence Project Clinic at UVA may be the last hopes for Syed


Sarah Gray
January 15, 2015 4:34AM (UTC)
This piece has been corrected since it first published.

The latest appeal made by Adan Syed -- defendant in the case featured in the popular podcast "Serial" -- is pending a decision from the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

Syed was convicted of the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, when they were seniors in high school. The popular "Serial" podcast, if you’re unfamiliar, centers around whether or not mistakes were made in the trial, and if Syed was wrongfully convicted.

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Reporter and “This American Life” producer, Sarah Koenig sifted through these questions in the 12-part podcast-- of the issues at hand was if Syed's attorney the late Cristina Gutierrez was "ineffective counsel."

Gutierrez was central to the case made to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. Vox updated their story to reflect the correction to state this:

"Syed had claimed that his lawyer, Christina (sic) Gutierrez, had provided ineffective assistance during his trial. The specific issue was a request Syed says he made for Gutierrez to ask prosecutors about a plea deal."

There is one other avenue for Syed to take, and it would be his last hope. Vox again explains:

"If the appeal is denied, the decision cannot be appealed further in state court, but Deirdre Enright of the Innocence Project Clinic at University of Virginia Law School, which is working on the case, has said it plans to petition to test DNA evidence which could exculpate Syed. That, effectively, is his last chance. To quote University of South Carolina law professor Colin Miller, 'After this, his only avenue is DNA testing in state court.'"

The Intercept -- initially timed for the anticipated decision -- released the second part of its interview with the lead prosecutor in the trial, Kevin Urick. In the interview Urick, unsurprisingly, stands by the verdict. He also -- independent of today's outcome -- answered questions about both DNA, and why there might not have been a plea deal. The full interview can be read here.


Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

MORE FROM Sarah Gray

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Adnan Syed Baltimore Hae Min Lee Sarah Koenig Serial The Innocence Project

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