Alright, let’s take a moment to catch our breath. If you haven’t listened to the captivating NPR podcast Serial, we recommend you do so immediately. The website for Serial describes the case best:
Podcast host Sarah Koenig met various witnesses over the span of 12 episodes, witnesses that proved and disproved Syed’s innocence, leaving the listener wondering, did he do it? One thing was for certain: The case was poorly handled across the board.
And so it’s no wonder that Syed’s newest lawyer, C. Justin Brown, exuberantly tweeted the news Thursday afternoon and confirmed with The New York Times by phone that the motion for a retrial was granted by Judge Martin P. Welch of the Baltimore Circuit Court.
In court documents obtained by The Huffington Post, Judge Welch agreed with the defense’s claim that the lawyer in Syed’s initial trial provided ineffective counsel when she failed to cross-examine the state of Maryland’s cell tower expert about the reliability of key evidence. The state had argued that the cell tower data accurately placed Syed at the location near where Lee’s body was found.
And so, there will be another trial. Syed’s lawyer is understandably thrilled:
Justin C. Brown isn’t the only one to tweet his excitement. Syed’s friend Rabia Chaudry (also interviewed at length on Serial) also tweeted her happiness for Syed’s good news:
Meanwhile, Syed’s family has always believed in his innocence, and so they are overjoyed.
We are thrilled. There were so many inconsistencies with this case. Maybe now we can get some real answers.
This is great feat. According to Portland-based criminal defense attorney Kevin Sali, ineffective counsel claims are typically “very hard to win.”
Somehow, Syed’s camp did it! This latest ruling shows that Syed’s claim met both requirements: The judge believed that Gutierrez (Syed’s first lawyer) was “constitutionally ineffective,” and that cross-examining the witness may have affected the outcome.
Now the ball starts rolling for a retrial. We’ll keep you guys up-to-date with any latest news. Until then, congratulations to the Syed family on this turn of events. (And, seriously, guys, go listen to Serial.)