BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Supreme Court will not hear Adnan Syed’s case after denying his appeal request for a new trial.
The justices did not comment in leaving in place a 4-3 ruling by Maryland’s highest court that denied a new trial to Adnan Syed, who was convicted of strangling a high school classmate he had once dated.
Syed’s lawyers had hoped the Supreme Court would grant him a new trial based on an alibi witness that was never called during the original trial.
On Monday, the Supreme Court denied that request. This comes after years of court battles, orders for new trials and overturning of decisions until finally this appeal for a new trial was denied.
Syed is serving a life sentence after he was convicted in 2000 of killing 17-year-old Hae Min Lee and burying her body in a Leakin Park. Syed, was a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County at the time of his arrest.
His case was highlighted in 2014 in the podcast ‘serial,’ raising concerns about cell phone tower data and an alibi witness who never called to testify.
Two Maryland courts found that Syed deserved a new trial. His lawyer during his first trial, Cristina Gutierrez, failed to contact a woman who said she saw Syed at a library at the time prosecutors say he strangled his ex-girlfriend in 1999. Gutierrez has since died.
But in 2018, the Maryland Court of Appeals denied Syed a new trial, even though it agreed his trial lawyer’s work was lacking. The state high court said there was little chance the outcome would have been different if Gutierrez had done what she should have.
“The decision from the Maryland supreme court is so detrimental to almost all defendants across the country that it needs to be overturned. And, that’s actually a greater concern. Adnan has other options. We’re already exploring other options. We’re going to be going to federal court next,” said attorney Rabia Chaudry.
There is a deep, tremendous toll on the loved ones & advocates of those trapped by the criminally unjust system. Over decades of fighting, praying, hoping, you are emptied out again and again. The hollows will never be filled up. No on can return our years to us. #FreeAdnan
— rabia O'chaudry (@rabiasquared) November 25, 2019
Syed’s attorney said they are working to file a federal court appeal in the next four to six months.