Monday Brings Bad News for Adnan Syed

Murder case that was the subject of 'Serial' podcast won't be heard by Supreme Court
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2019 10:05 AM CST
Supreme Court Says No to Serial Subject
In this Feb. 3, 2016, file photo, Adnan Syed enters a courtroom in Baltimore prior to a hearing.   (Barbara Haddock Taylor/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

The highest court in the land has declined to hear Adnan Syed's murder case, but Syed's legal team says this isn't the end of the road for the subject of the Serial podcast, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2000 for the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, his ex-girlfriend from high school. Some had called for a new trial for the Maryland man, now 39, after Serial took a deep dive into the case in 2014, and the following year a Baltimore circuit court judge did indeed grant him a hearing at which an alibi witness who featured prominently in the podcast presented evidence. Syed's conviction was vacated and a new trial ordered in 2016, but this year the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state's top court, ultimately reinstated the conviction and declined to hold a new trial. Syed's lawyers then filed a petition with the US Supreme Court in August, the Baltimore Sun reports.

"We're deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court is not taking this case, but by no means is this the end," said Syed's attorney following the Monday decision, adding that legal options do remain, though he declined to discuss specific next steps. Rabia Chaudry, a lawyer and advocate for Syed whom the Sun refers to as the "catalyst" for Serial taking a look at the case, tweeted a message to Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, who'd urged the Supreme Court justices to deny Syed's bid: "We will see you in Federal court." The SCOTUS justices didn't comment on their decision, which leaves in place the 4-3 ruling by Maryland's highest court; though that court did find Syed's initial trial deficient due to the absence of the aforementioned alibi witness's testimony, it ultimately ruled the conviction likely would have stood even if that testimony had been heard, CBS News reports. (More Adnan Syed stories.)

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