Officials escort "Serial" podcast subject Adnan Syed from the courthouse on Feb. 3, 2016, following the completion of the first day of hearings for a retrial in Baltimore, Md. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/TNS) ** OUTS - ELSENT, FPG, TCN - OUTS **
Officials escort "Serial" podcast subject Adnan Syed from the courthouse on Feb. 3, 2016, following the completion of the first day of hearings for a retrial in Baltimore, Md. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/TNS) ** OUTS - ELSENT, FPG, TCN - OUTS ** (Karl Merton Ferron / TNS)

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is asking the Supreme Court to review the case of Adnan Syed, saying the subject of the popular “Serial” podcast was not given a proper opportunity “to investigate an unbiased and credible alibi witness.”

In the amicus brief, the group wrote that the Maryland Court of Appeals’ decision to deny Syed a new trial and to reinstate his conviction in the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee “will impact criminal defendants and, in particular, habeas petitioners, far beyond Maryland’s borders.”

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The state’s highest court ruled in March, on a 4-3 vote, that while his initial trial was “deficient” after Syed’s attorney failed to follow up with a possible alibi witness’ account, the evidence against Syed was still strong and that the court had not prejudiced Syed.

Syed’s lawyers filed a petition with the Supreme Court in August, though it’s highly unlikely the case would be heard by the justices. Of the more than 7,000 cases petitioned to the nation’s highest court each year, it takes up an average of only 2 percent.

The criminal defense lawyers group wrote in its brief that Asia McClain, who said she had a 20-minute conversation with Syed at the same time prosecutors say he murdered Lee in 1999, was incorrectly left out of the trial and that the Court of Appeals erred in not allowing for a new trial with her testimony included.

“The decision below will have broad and irreparable impact on habeas petitioners nationwide,” the group wrote. “It has consequences not only for Syed, but for all defendants with counsel who fail to investigate and present testimony from a neutral, credible alibi witness.”

Syed’s case gained international attention in 2014 when it was covered by the “Serial” podcast, raising questions and intriguing several hundred million listeners around the world. An HBO documentary also recently revisited the case.

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