Adnan Syed, Subject Of 'Serial,' Deserves New Trial, Appeals Court Rules : The Two-Way Maryland's second-highest court has upheld a ruling vacating Syed's murder conviction, which the hit podcast covered. Syed will be retried in a lower court, provided Thursday's ruling isn't appealed.
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'Serial' Subject Adnan Syed Deserves A New Trial, Appeals Court Rules

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'Serial' Subject Adnan Syed Deserves A New Trial, Appeals Court Rules

'Serial' Subject Adnan Syed Deserves A New Trial, Appeals Court Rules

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NOEL KING, HOST:

OK. If you listen to the hit podcast "Serial," you know the name Adnan Syed. The podcast was about his murder conviction in 2000. But an appeals court in Maryland has backed a decision that vacated his conviction, and Syed might be getting a new trial. NPR's Colin Dwyer has the story.

COLIN DWYER, BYLINE: Adnan Syed has spent the better part of two decades behind bars for killing his high school ex-girlfriend in 1999. He's there serving a life sentence for the crime. But even as he stayed put in custody, he has followed a long and winding road through Maryland's legal system. And as the court hearings piled up, so did some apparent loose threads in his case, some of which concerned the performance of his lawyer at the time. For one thing, that lawyer did not bring forth a key witness who claimed to have seen Syed at the school's library at the time of the killing.

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SARAH KOENIG: All I can say is I think something went wrong with this case, and I think that's worth reporting.

DWYER: That's podcast host Sarah Koenig talking to NPR back in 2014, right around the time that she and her investigative team devoted the entire first season of "Serial" to Syed's story. The show won a Peabody Award and became one of the most-popular podcasts of all time. And within two years, a Baltimore judge decided Syed's story was also worth reconsidering in court. He found that Syed had been poorly served by his original counsel - so poorly, in fact, that Syed deserved another hearing. Now, after a 2-1 ruling, Maryland's second-highest court has backed that decision. And Syed's new lawyer, C. Justin Brown, says they are ready for a new trial.

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C. JUSTIN BROWN: Let's take it to a jury in Baltimore City and let them decide whether Adnan Syed is guilty or innocent.

DWYER: He says "Serial" helped boost the intensity of Syed's legal campaign. The show's widespread popularity even shook the trees, in Brown's words, so that they could get in contact with that alibi witness, Asia McClain Chapman, and get her testimony.

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BROWN: But, you know, this process has taken so long already. It's time to make some final resolution. And we hope that the state will see it the same way that we do.

DWYER: And that is still an open question. State prosecutors still have time to decide whether to appeal this ruling to Maryland's highest court. For now, the state attorney general's office says it is reviewing the ruling to determine its next steps. Colin Dwyer, NPR News.

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