Justices reject call for new trial in ‘Serial’ podcast case
Washington – The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a Maryland man’s bid for a new trial based on information uncovered by the hit podcast “Serial.”
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 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 Baltimore park.
Syed’s lawyers had argued that his trial lawyer’s failure to investigate an alibi witness violated his right to competent legal representation.
In its debut 2014 season, the “Serial” podcast shined a spotlight on the case that led to renewed court proceedings.
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.