Almost a year after Adnan Syed, the subject of Serial’s popular first season, was granted a new trial for his alleged involvement in the murder of his former girlfriend, Maryland’s highest court has reversed the decision. According to the Baltimore Sun, a 4-to-3 vote from the Court of Appeals determined the state’s lower court was incorrect in declaring Syed’s counsel “ineffective” during his original trial 20 years ago. The Court of Appeals also disputed Syed was met with prejudice during his trial, due to the evidence that was presented. “Given the totality of the evidence the jury heard, we conclude that there is not a significant or substantial possibility that the verdict would have been different had trial counsel presented” an alibi witness, Judge Clayton Greene Jr. wrote in his official ruling. Syed’s attorney, C. Justin Brown, said he is “devastated” by the decision and will continue to explore other “avenues of relief” for his client. “Our criminal justice system is desperately in need of reform,” he added. “The obstacles to getting a new trial are simply too great.”
In 2000, Syed was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, and for burying her body in a Baltimore park. More than a decade later, Syed and his case became an international phenomenon due to the first season of Serial, the Sarah Koenig-hosted podcast that extensively chronicled the case’s intricacies and lingering questions. Syed is currently serving a life sentence in prison for the murder, and has maintained his innocence.