Maryland's second highest court has upheld a judge's verdict overriding the murder of Serial podcast subject Adnan Syed.
The decision raises the case back to Circuit Court and grants Syed a new proceeding there.
The decision could be appealed to the Supreme Court, which would take many more months before Syed finds out whether his conviction will endure or whether he will receive a new trial.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh's office said it will "just review today's decision to determine next steps."
Justin Brown, Syed's lawyer, said he would have a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
The opinion of the Court of Special Appeals, which on Thursday at 1
Syed was sentenced in 2000 and sentenced to life imprisonment for being killed his former girlfriend, classmate Wood Hawn High School Hae Min Lee, whose body was found in Leakin Park. 19659002] Syed kept his innocence, and in 2014 his case attracted international attention as it was featured in the podcast "Serial," which was downloaded millions of times and caused legions of listeners to investigate the case online.
Syed received a post-sentencing hearing in February 2016, in which his new lawyers argued that his original lawyer had failed to designate an alibi witness. They also questioned the reliability of the cell phone evidence used to place Syed where Lee's body was found.
Four months later, retired judge Martin Welch, who had denied Syed's previous application for a new trial, condemned his conviction and ordered a new trial
The judge said questions about the cell phone evidence had come from Syed's original team must be collected.
The state appealed last year's verdict of a lower court that overturned Syed's conviction and ordered a new trial. Syed's lawyers filed a separate conditional appeal and asked the court to investigate the alibi issue.
In Thursday's statement, Woodward stated, "There is a reasonable likelihood that McClain's alibi statement would have caused reasonable doubt by at least one jury on Syed's involvement [in] Hae's murder and thus" the outcome of the trial would have been different . "
The Appeals Tribunal had examined the case during a hearing last June.
There, the judges had focused more on the alibi-witness angle and Syed and the prosecutor's office questioned about what they should give to Asia McCain Chapman, who claimed to be there. I saw Syed in the Woodlawn library when prosecutors Lee were killed.
"How can you to judge an alibi witness without speaking to her? "Woodward asked at the presentation of the State Secretary Thiru Vignarajah.
The judges asked Syed's current lawyer, C. Justin Brown, if there was a case law stating that Gutierrez Syed was giving ineffective advice because she was not talking to McClain.
Judge Kathryn Grill Graeff asked Brown if it was the duty of a defense lawyer to speak with a possible alibi witness – to which Brown said yes.
Graeff disagreed with the court's statement published Thursday.
jfenton @ baltsun.com