A circuit court vacated Syed’s conviction in 2016, citing the “ineffective assistance” of a former attorney who failed to investigate an alibi witness. In March 2018, the Court of Special Appeals upheld the ruling granting Syed a new trial.
In Friday’s ruling, the higher Court of Appeals agreed that Syed’s initial legal counsel had been “deficient” but, on a 4-3 vote, determined that this had not prejudiced his case and that he had waived his claim of ineffective counsel. The higher court ordered that the lower one reverse its 2018 judgment granting Syed a new trial.
Syed’s current attorney, Justin Brown, tweeted the hashtag #FreeAdnan after the Friday opinion. In a blog post, he wrote, “We are devastated by the Court of Appeals’ decision but we will not give up on Adnan Syed,” though he acknowledged that the “obstacles to getting a new trial are simply too great.” Brown told the Baltimore Sun there are “at least three other avenues of relief” that he would explore. The Washington Post has put in a request seeking further comment.