Adnan Syed entitled to new trial, Court of Special Appeals affirms. What’s next?

By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)[*]

The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland has issued its decision in Adnan Syed v. State of Maryland. The opinion, affirming that Syed is entitled to a new trial, is available here.

So what’s next? The State can file a motion for reconsideration within 30 days (April 30).

  • On April 30, if there has been no motion for reconsideration, the Court of Special Appeals will issue its mandate, which will make its opinion final.
  • Within 15 days after the mandate issues, the State can file a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals of Maryland, which is the state’s highest court. Assuming the mandate issues on April 30, that deadline will be May 15.
  • Syed will have 15 days to file a conditional cross-petition on any issues where he lost.
  • The Court of Appeals has seven active judges, who will vote on the petition and any cross-petition. The judges themselves, typically not their clerks, review certiorari petitions.
  • It takes three votes to grant certiorari. If two or more judges are recused, only two votes are required. The vote would most likely take place in July or August.
  • If the Court of Appeals denies certiorari, the State will then have 90 days to petition the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • If, however, the Court of Appeals grants certiorari:
    • The Court of Appeals will likely hear the case in the fall of 2018.
    • The Court of Appeals will live-stream a video of its arguments.
    • The opinion will be issued no later than August 31, 2019.
    • The losing party will then have 90 days to petition the Supreme Court of the United States.

[*] Disclosure: I authored an amicus brief at the application-for-leave-to-appeal stage, but not at the merits stage. I am restricting my commentary in this post to the procedures for seeking further review, without commenting on the prospects for further review.

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