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Syed to petition Supreme Court after Md. court declines to reconsider ruling

Adnan Syed will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to vacate his conviction after Maryland’s highest court denied his motion for reconsideration on Friday.

The Court of Appeals last month reversed lower court rulings and reinstated the conviction for Syed, whose case gained international attention with the popular “Serial” podcast. Attorneys asked the Court of Appeals, which had ruled by a 4-3 vote, to reconsider.

After the court denied that motion Friday, attorney C. Justin Brown tweeted, “We will petition to the Supreme Court.”

Lower courts awarded Syed a new trial based on deficient performance by his trial attorney.

Syed was convicted in 2000 of murdering his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. An alibi witness, Asia McClain, later came forward and said she spoke with Syed at a public library around the time prosecutors said the murder occurred, but McClain was never contacted by attorneys during the trial.

Three Court of Appeals judges held that Syed’s attorney fell short of her duty as a defense attorney by failing to investigate McClain’s alibi testimony but that it did not have a significant impact on the outcome of the case. A fourth judge, who joined in the ultimate decision to reinstate the conviction, said Syed’s trial attorney was not deficient.

The remaining three judges concurred in part and dissented in part, finding that the attorney’s performance was deficient and prejudicial because McClain was the sole witness who would have spoken to Syed’s whereabouts during “the most integral period of time in the case.”

The case is State of Maryland v. Adnan Syed, No. 24, Sept. Term 2018.

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