Serial's Adnan Syed Launches Bid to Be Released From Prison

Syed's lawyer filed the bail petition on his behalf in a Baltimore court.

ByABC News
October 24, 2016, 11:17 AM

— -- Adnan Syed, whose murder conviction was the focus of the first season of the "Serial" podcast, has officially launched a bid to be released from prison.

His lawyer Justin Brown filed the bail petition on behalf of Syed in a Baltimore courthouse Monday morning.

"He has no history of violence other than the State's allegations in this case, and if released he would pose no danger to the community," the Motion for Release Pending Appeal document reads. "He is also not a flight risk; it makes no sense that he would run from the case he has spent more than half his life trying to disprove."

Brown expressed the sentiments in today's court document in July, telling ABC News then, "He's not a flight risk and he is not a danger to the community and therefore he should be allowed out on bail."

Syed, 35, has been incarcerated since his arrest in February 1999 for the murder of ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. She was found buried in a shallow grave in Baltimore's Leakin Park. Syed was sentenced to life in prison in 2000.

A retired Baltimore judge issued a ruling in June granting Syed a new trial on the grounds that he received ineffective counsel in 2000 from a defense attorney who failed to cross examine a state cell expert witness on key evidence.

"The court finds that trial counsel's performance fell below the standard of reasonable professional judgment when she failed to cross-examine the state's cell tower expert regarding a disclaimer obtained as part of pre-trial discovery," Judge Martin Welch wrote in his ruling in June.

Abraham Waranowitz, a former AT&T engineer who was the cell expert witness, said in a 2015 affidavit that he was handed only one page of cellphone information before taking the stand in 2000 to explain how Syed's cellphone was linked to where Lee's body was found. He said he did not know of a disclaimer on a different page that might have cast doubt on the reliability of the data, since it stated that information gleaned about incoming calls was unreliable.

"I consider the existence of the disclaimer about incoming calls to have been critical information for me to address," Waranowitz said in the affidavit that was included in a court filing in October 2015. "I do not know why this information was not pointed out to me."

The ruling followed new evidence presented during a second post-conviction relief hearing in February, including testimony from alibi witness Asia McClain Chapman, who says she spoke with Syed in the library of her high school in Baltimore County at the time the state claims he killed Lee.

Maryland’s attorney general appealed the June order and charged that Syed shouldn’t get a new trial in the absence of “new evidence” or a “change in law” since he was convicted.

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