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‘Serial’ podcast subject Adnan Syed is granted a retrial

A Maryland appeals court has affirmed it can proceed.
David Lumb, @OutOnALumb
March 29, 2018
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Carlos Barria / Reuters

When last we heard about Adnan Syed, subject of the breakout hit podcast Serial's first season, a judge ruled he should be given a new trial based on his previous attorney's failings. Today, Maryland's court of special appeals has affirmed it will grant him one.

Prosecutors had appealed the ruling, but a panel upheld the grant for retrial, Variety reported. Syed had been convicted in 2000 of murdering his girlfriend Hae Min Lee and served a life sentence in prison thereafter until Serial extensively investigated his case in its 2014 first season. Two years later, a lower court judge ruled that Syed's previous attorney hadn't cross-examined a cell tower expert acting as key witness about the reliability of phone location data, which had placed him near the victim's burial site, which had been the basis of his appeal.

"Accordingly, Syed's murder conviction must be vacated, and because Syed's convictions for kidnapping, robbery, and false imprisonment are predicated on his commission of Hae's murder, these convictions must be vacated as well. The instant case will be remanded for a new trial on all charges against Syed," the panel wrote in its statement.

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