WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Big break. The subject of the popular podcast “Serial” is granted the right to appeal. It comes a decade after the Baltimore teen was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend.
Tracey Leong has the details on this big break.
This is a very rare ruling for Adnan Syed, who’s serving a life sentence. Historically, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals denies these types of post-conviction cases.
Millions around the world have listened to “Serial.” The in-depth podcast looks at the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee–a Woodlawn High School student.
Lee’s body was found in a shallow grave at Leakin Park. Her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was found guilty for her murder.
Prosecutors say Syed strangled Lee, but Syed maintains his innocence and has support from his family.
“We are just so thankful that the story is out there,” Syed’s brother said.
Syed, now 34 years old, is getting a shot to challenge his conviction.
“You have a real appeal now. We’re going to put you on the regular appellate docket. He hasn’t won yet, but he’s now going to have that appeal,” said law professor Byron Warnken, www.warnkenlaw.com.
Some believe he may have been granted the right to an appeal because it became such a high profile case due to the popularity of the podcast.
“The Court of Special Appeals looked at this one probably a little closer than others because even if the judges didn’t know, all their law clerks had heard ‘Serial.’ So, yeah, that might have been a factor,” said Warnken.
“Serial” creator Sarah Kroenig posted on her blog in response to the decision: “That’s a pretty big hurdle for any appellate to clear.”
Syed has expressed his trial attorney was ineffective. And after two failed attempts to appeal, Syed has an unexpected opportunity.
Law professor Byron Warnken says it is a decision “Serial” followers were waiting to hear–a twist in this captivating story.
“All of a sudden you’re listening and you think, ‘Wow, this guy is innocent.’ And then, the next episode you’re listening and you think, ‘You know, I think he’s guilty.’ It shows just how close things are in the criminal justice system,” he said.
Adnan Syed’s appeal is scheduled for June 2015.
Season 1 for the “Serial” podcast ended in December. Season 2 is coming out later this year.