U.S. Supreme Court Denies Adnan Syed’s Appeal
We have previously reported on the case of Adnan Syed, the subject of the popular podcast “Serial,” whose attorneys petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review his case. The request was an important one, as the decision by the appeals court to deny him a new trial not only uproots well-established, uniform legal precedent in criminal trials, but affects criminal defendants around the country, especially those whose initial trials were found to be deficient due to inadequate representation.
In 2016, a Maryland court and Court of Special Appeals ordered a new trial for Syed, citing an alibi witness that was completely bypassed by his defense attorney at the time. However, the state’s highest court determined, in a 4-to-3 decision, that he did not deserve a new trial even though his trial counsel was deficient. In late November, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would not consider Syed’s appeal, leaving the state appeals court decision – and his life sentence – in place.
Why The Court Should Have Granted Syed’s Petition
Syed’s alibi witness reportedly sent several letters to his defense attorney at the time, indicating that she could be a witness, but the attorney never followed up on them. Syed was a juvenile when he was sentenced to life in prison without the opportunity for parole, and still has not had an opportunity to present his alibi to a jury versus the Maryland Court of Appeals.
There are a number of reasons that The U.S. Supreme Court should have granted Syed’s petition, including the following:
- Maryland Court of Appeals’ decision created a split among 11 state and federal courts: The Maryland Court diverges from at least 10 state and federal courts by employing a standard that makes prejudice difficult-to-impossible to show, and this is wrong. Specifically, the Court’s decision is the first to hold that a defense attorney’s failure to investigate a credible witness is not prejudicial to a defendant;
- The question presented is important: The standard should be uniform among state and federal courts, the standing decision undermines the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel, and the decision discounts the importance of alibi witnesses; and
- The case at hand is a clean vehicle to address the question presented.
Work with The Very Best
One mistake made by an Orlando criminal defense attorney can mean a lifetime in jail for a defendant. Regardless of how strong the evidence is, it is very difficult to obtain a new jury trial, which is why you want to work with the best possible criminal defense from the get-go.
Jose Baez is known as one of the very best lawyers in America. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and find out more about our criminal defense services.