The first season of the popular Serial podcast gave renewed attention to Adnan Syed's 2000 murder conviction back in 2014, leading to a Maryland court granting him a new trial. Syed was convicted in 2000 of killing his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999. Serial brought the conviction into question, and for a while it looked as though Syed would get another chance to make his case in court. Unfortunately for him, TMZ reports he won't be getting that new trial after all.
On Friday, the Maryland Court of Appeals reinstated his murder conviction, stating that his defense attorney "did not prejudice" the case. "We agree with the conclusion of the Court of Special Appeals that Mr. Syed's trial counsel's performance was deficient in failing to investigate the alibi witness," the four judges on the case wrote in their conclusion. "We disagree, however with that court's conclusion that Mr. Syed was prejudiced by his trial counsel's deficiency."
Essentially, the court is stating that the late Cristina Gutierrez, who represented his case before he was convicted, did not do her job in defending him very well. However, they said that all the evidence still mounts up to a guilty verdict. Three other judges on the panel disagree with the verdict, stating that they believe her "deficient performance" was, in fact, prejudicial against him.
"We are devastated by the Court of Appeals’ decision, but we will not give up on Adnan Syed," Syed's current defense lawyer Justin Brown said. "Unfortunately we live in a binary criminal justice system in which you either win or you lose. Today we lost by a 4-3 vote."
The first episode of HBO's four-part documentary series on the case, The Case Against Adnan Syed, is set to air this Sunday (Mar. 10).