Adnan Syed's 'Serial' Appeal Has Been Remanded & The Case Could Go To Circuit Court
Guess who's back, back again? It's Rabia Chaudry, Baltimore lawyer and friend of Adnan Syed, the convicted murderer of then high-schooler Hae Min Lee from Baltimore in 1999. For a refresher, Chaudry is the woman that originally brought Syed's case to Sarah Koenig and NPR for a journalistic remix. On Monday, May 18, Chaudry tweeted that Syed's case has been officially remanded, as per the Court of Special Appeals in Maryland. #FreeAdnan, she hashtagged, and it looks like that is becoming more and more of a real possibility for Syed, 15 years after the murder that rocked everyone in his community — and then millions of listeners.
So, what exactly is up with a remand? It does not guarantee a right to re-open the case in court. Syed filed an appeal "based on a number of legal theories. One of them is that his lawyer failed to present the testimony of Asia McClain, a potential alibi witness who claims to have seen Syed at the time he allegedly committed the murder. On Monday, the Maryland Court Of Special Appeals ruled that the case would be “remanded” to the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, which is a trial court, to consider a new affidavit by McClain." Which resolves, in part, what seemed like the biggest red flags for the prosecution: Syed's late lawyer, Christina Gutierrez, was criticized and even blamed for her approach to trial.
And then there are the Asia letters. Asia McClain was Syed's classmate, and originally testified to the police that she talked to him in the library after school (on a snowy day) while the alleged murder of Lee was taking place. Gutierrez decided "strategically" that she would not call McClain to the witness stand in court, even though McClain wrote Syed letters when he was first convicted and imprisoned.
Chaudry is elated to perhaps, finally, maybe see some justice for Syed. Syed's representative lawyer in this successful appeal was Justin C. Brown, who has posted a link to the actual appeal on his Twitter account, and it seems like Chaudry believes McClain's testimony could really change the outcome for Syed's future. According to WBALTV, "the purpose of the stay and the remand is to provide Syed with the opportunity to file with the Circuit Court a request… to re-open the previously concluded post-conviction proceeding in light of Ms. McClain's January 13, 2015, affidavit, which has not heretofore been reviewed or considered by the circuit court."
In short, it will return to the circuit court for a possible re-opening, and who knows what will happen then? Will Sarah Koenig be there to muse?