Adnan Syed, subject of hit podcast Serial, will get a chance to appeal his case. Syed, now 33, was convicted in 2000 for the murder of ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, and has since been serving a life sentence in a Western Maryland state prison.
On Friday, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals granted Syed the right to an appeal on the grounds of ineffective counsel. In their application for leave to appeal, Syed’s legal team argued that Syed’s original lawyer, Cristina Gutierrez, failed to both seek a plea deal and pursue key witness Asia McClain, who claims to have been with Syed in a local library at the time of Lee’s death. McClain also filed a new affidavit earlier this year stating that trial prosecutor Kevin Urick persuaded her not to take part in Syed’s trial.
Syed’s appeal is scheduled to be heard in June. His original appeal was denied in Baltimore City Court in 2003, and, given how rare it is for cases like this to be reconsidered, it’s fair to say that Serial may have had a small, tangible influence on the court’s decision to reopen the appeal.