The high-profile case of a man whose murder conviction was chronicled in the hit “Serial” podcast that attracted millions of armchair detectives will be in Maryland’s highest court on Thursday will hear arguments. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Maryland’s top court to hear arguments in “Serial” case

BALTIMORE — Maryland’s highest court on Thursday will hear arguments in the high-profile case of a man whose murder conviction was chronicled in the hit “Serial” podcast that attracted millions of armchair detectives.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals is set to hear oral arguments in Adnan Syed’s long-running case. He was convicted in 2000 of strangling his high school sweetheart and burying her body in Baltimore’s Leakin Park. He’s been serving a life sentence ever since.

But a Baltimore judge vacated his conviction two years ago and a court ordered a new trial after concluding that his trial lawyer was ineffective. The state appealed. Earlier this year, the special appeals court upheld the lower court’s ruling. The state appealed that decision, too.

Now, Maryland’s top court is reviewing a decision that could reinstate Syed’s conviction for the slaying of 18-year-old Hae Min Lee.

The court has granted the state the opportunity to make its arguments that Syed’s trial lawyer, the late Cristina Gutierrez, was not ineffective and Syed’s constitutional right to counsel was never violated. It granted Syed’s legal team the chance to make its case touching on key cellphone evidence.

University of Baltimore law professorDavid Jarossaid the fact that a court had found that there was “ineffective assistance of counsel” was itself remarkable since it happens so rarely. That alone makes Syed’s case something of an outlier, he said.

“Ineffective assistance of counsel claims are exceedingly hard to bring. And the bar for what is an effective assistance of counsel is remarkably and shockingly low, with courts actually holding that defendants had effective representation even though their lawyer fell asleep at the trial,” Jaros said in a phone interview.

But what also makes Syed’s case notable is the huge amount of attention it has received. Syed became a sort of cause celebre due to the hugely popular “Serial” podcast, which debuted in 2014 with the entirety of its first season dedicated to the case.

The show shattered podcast-streaming and downloading records. “Serial” revealed little-known evidence, raising new questions about the case and whether Syed was indeed guilty.

By The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From masks to cohorting, a guide to back-to-school rules across the country

Plans are being made across the country for how to safely send… Continue reading

Red Deer asking for feedback on new transit routes

The new routes will begin Aug. 23

Red Deer region unemployment hits 14% in July

Unemployment in Red Deer region nearly double July 2019 rate of 7.4%

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

OTTAWA — Canada’s labour market gained 419,000 jobs last month as more… Continue reading

1 in 7 Albertans have been tested for COVID-19

56 additional cases Thursday, 1,107 active cases remain in the province

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gather in Wetaskiwin

Protestors gathered along 56 St Wetaskiwin, Alta. August 4, 2020 for Indigenous Lives Matter.

You have nothing to fear from central EMS dispatching

My name is Brad Higgins. I am reaching out with respect to… Continue reading

Maskwacis teen charged in 10-year-old boy’s death

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 14-year-old boy from Maskwacis.

‘Caught up in the frenzy:’ Oilers 50/50 draw breaking ticket sale records

Previous record was held by Toronto Raptors fans when a 50/50 raffle reached $2 million

Expanded rail service would put Alberta’s economy on the fast track

To empower our communities, unite our province, and grow our economy, Alberta… Continue reading

Alberta jury trials to resume next month at offsite locations due to COVID-19

About 12 locations across Alberta may host the trials in halls, hotels and community centres

Alberta school curriculum to focus on basics, keep out political bias: minister

NDP education critic says the kindergarten to Grade 4 changes should have been implemented a year ago

Walmart to make face masks mandatory for customers across Canada

Requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 12 across Canada

Oilers 50/50 draw prepared for more fan frenzy for Game 4 against Blackhawks

EDMONTON — Frenzy over the Edmonton Oilers online 50/50 draw may continue… Continue reading

Most Read