2015 Defense Motion to Reopen Exhibits

The documents which helped persuade Judge Welch to hold the 2016 PCR hearing (for Asia to testify)

In 2015 the Maryland Court of Special Appeals decided that there was sufficient new evidence in Adnan’s case that a new hearing would be “in the interests of justice”. COSA cannot just accept new evidence directly and make their own, fresh judgement, instead they “remand” the case back to the Circuit Court, asking them to take another look. After COSA make their decision, the next step is for the appellant (person who made the appeal) to ask the Circuit Court directly by submitting a Motion to Reopen. Then the Circuit Court considers whether the new evidence. and the arguments for and against it, are strong enough to reopen the hearing so the new evidence can go on the record. At this point the Circuit Court could still have disagreed with COSA, and as with many aspects of Adnan’s legal case, this stage was unusually involved, with both parties taking every opportunity to respond and to submit plenty of supporting evidence. That evidence is described below, with a little explanation of the significance of each document.

Motion to Reopen. June 30, 2015

Adnan submits a Motion to Reopen, asking the Baltimore City Circuit Court (BCCC) to Reopen his Post Conviction proceedings so that new evidence can be heard. This was requested by the Court of Special Appeals in early June.

Detail of Exhibits

Ex. 1. Asia McClain’s first letter to Adnan. March 1999.
Ex. 2. Asia McClain’s second letter to Adnan. March 1999.
Ex. 3. Notes from Gutierrez’s law clerk mentioning Asia and the library. July 1999.
Ex. 4. Gutierrez’ own handwritten note MCG notes, mentioning Asia and the library. Undated.
Ex. 5. Asia McClain’s 2000 affidavit. March 2000
She (and 2 friends) saw Adnan in the library on 13 January 1999 and no attorney ever spoke to her about it.
Ex. 6. Adnan’s parents letter to Gutierrez after the trial, asking her to contact them and include Asia in a Motion for a New Trial. March 2000
Ex. 7. Asia McClain’s 2015 affidavit January 2015
Urick dissuaded her from testifying in 2010 and she did not tell him Adnan’s family had pressured her in 2000
Ex. 8. COSA Order to Remand to Circuit Court May 2015 NEW
Ex. 9. “Exclusive: Prosecutor in ‘Serial’ Case Goes on the RecordNEW (to the record)
Part 1 of a three piece article interviewing Kevin Urick by Natasha Vargas-Cooper & Ken Silverstein for The Intercept. January 2015
Ex. 10. Kevin Urick’s letter to the editor of The Daily Record February 2015 NEW (to the record)

Return to Appeals – 2015 Motion to Reopen Post Conviction Proceedings

Supplement to the Motion, August 24, 2015

Adnan files a Supplement to the Motion to Reopen based on a new expert affidavit from Gerald Grant (later an expert witness at the 2016 PCR hearing) and information about how the AT&T records contradict the narrative claimed by Urick and Murphy at trial, particlularly the AT&T Subscriber Activity fax cover, as uncovered by Susan Simpson, as well as recent statements made by Urick to the press about the cell tower evidence.

Detail of Exhibits

Ex. 1. Fax from AT&T to BPD undated (page 2 of link) aka the AT&T Fax Disclaimer Cover Sheet. NEW
AT&T fax cover sheet which includes instructions for Law Enforcement/Attorneys to use when interpreting AT&T cell phone records (which they call Subscriber Activity Reports).
Ex. 2. Affidavit from Gerald Grant Expert Witness in Cell Phone location technology. Not publicly available but NEW to the court record
Ex. 3. “Exclusive: Prosecutor in ‘Serial’ Case Goes on the Record“, N Vargas-Cooper & K Silverstein, The Intercept. 7 January 2015 (Part 1 of 3)
Ex. 4. Adnan’s cell phone records for 1/13/99 (5-col-ver) aka the “Deanna Note”. NEW
Part of fax sent from Police to AT&T on 2 March 1999. Contains cell phone records for 13 January 1999. This is the 5 column version of the cell phone records.

About Exhibit 1 – the “AT&T disclaimer”

There is no date on this fax cover, but we can now match this up with other evidence and see that it was sent on 22 February 1999 as the cover sheet to this 10 page fax from Rose R at AT&T to BPD giving a list of cell site locations.
There is another, nearly identical fax cover sheet in the records for another fax sent from Rose R to BPD on 22 February, containing cell phone records/Subscriber Activity Reports. However that fax contained more pages and and you can see that Rose just re-used this cover, but amended the number of pages.

About Exhibit 4 – the “Deanna Note”

The exhibit is just one page but it packs a lot in: most of it is the underlying single page of cell phone records for 13 January 1999. There are 5 columns of information and it is similar to page 2 of Ex.5 from Adnan’s Reply Brief (see below). Also on the page is a handwritten note from Detective Ritz to “Deanna” (of AT&T) asking for help understanding locations of cell towers and those same calls. The final component is some fax printing runs along the edge of the page including a date of 22 February 1999.
When Adnan’s attorney Justin Brown posted Ex. 1 and 4 on his blog there was, perhaps, some initial confusion (also see the State response below). Brown only mentioned Ex. 1 on the blog entry, and there were no separator sheets in that original copy (we did add some later to avoid any future confusion). Maybe the intention was to only publish Ex. 1, and Ex. 4 was simply included in the public version by accident. So very superficially it appeared as if the Deanna Note was part of Ex.1, and the two pages were related, although their content suggests otherwise: one is from Rose at AT&T to police; the other is to Deanna at AT&T from police. Moreover, reading the description of Ex. 4 given in the Brief clears it up completely.

“the State misused the cell tower information in other ways. For example, the State argued that a 5:14 p.m. incoming call was proof that Syed checked his voicemail at that time. … the fax from AT&T, Ex. 1, coupled with another phone record provided to the defense, Ex. 4, shows that this call was in fact an incoming call in which the caller was leaving a voice message on Syed’s phone.”

The “Deanna Note” was included simply for the phone records it contained. He gives an example from it which shows that you actually do need the instructions (Ex.1) to properly make sense of the fax (Ex.4) or else make mistakes as Urick and Murphy appear to have conveniently done at trial. Interestingly that same page is “missing” from a copy found in the MPIA (public records) BPD file, published later in 2015. In that ‘original’ copy (of the 5 column AT&T cell phone records) it should appear between the last 2 pages of the linked file.
The other elements of the page aren’t relevant, the printed fax date is just when AT&T originally sent that page to BPD. And we later found that Ritz wrote his note to Deanna and sent it to her by fax on 2 March 1999, nothing about the actual note to Deanna or anything else from Ritz’s fax relates to Brown’s description above. Given that Ritz’s fax also contains personal details of a witness, it is no surprise that Justin Brown didn’t publish the whole thing.

Return to Appeals – 2015 Motion to Reopen Post Conviction Proceedings

Consolidated Response in Opposition, September 23, 2015

The State’s attorneys submitted a Consolidated Response in Opposition to both the Motion to Reopen and the Supplement.
This was published by the Baltimore Sun along with an article summarising the most salacious quotes. Adnan’s attorney also published a copy on the company blog but he also published the Attachments which went with the State’s brief.

Detail of Attachments

Att. 1. Syed’s Supplement to Motion to Reopen Post-Conviction Proceedings, 24 August 2015
Att. 2. Syed’s Supplement Exhibit 1: Faxes between Baltimore Police and AT&T. February and March 1999
Att. 3. Fax Detective Ritz to AT&T, 3 March 1999. NEW
Att. 4. Adnan’s cell phone records, faxed from AT&T to police on 17 February 1999 (19 pages). NEW
This is a full length copy of the cell phone records, aka Subscriber Activity Reports, from the prosecution file. It is the version which has 15 columns, and the cell tower information has been redacted.
Att. 5. State’s Brief of Appellee. 6 May 2015. NEW

About Attachment 3

This is the fax which contained the Deanna Note (see About Exhibit 4 above). The rest of the fax is unrelated, about a subpoena for different set of phone records. The State’s attorney, Thiru Vignarajah, posted it to prove that Exhibit 1 and Exhibit 4 of Adnan’s supplement were not originally part of the same document. (He suggested that Adnan’s attorney was “misleading” the court. Would it surprise you to learn Justin Brown made no such claim? Ironically, though presumably not intentionally, within a few sentences Vignarajah references State’s Trial Exhibit 31, which itself is misleading, and certainly combines pages that were not originally part of the same document.)

About Attachment 4 – The 15-column phone records

The State claims in this brief that only this 15-column version of the phone records is known by AT&T as Subscriber Activity Reports, and use the 3 pages of the 5-column version (in State’s Exhibit 31 from the trial) as their proof. It is unclear why Vignarajah would make this argument as it is so very easy to disprove: those 3 pages are extracts from a larger report and other complete (see p24) or nearly complete (see p2) copies of the 5-column version, from the police files, are also clearly marked Subscriber Activity.
The fax cover page of Attachment 4 says 20 pages were included, but only 19 pages seem to exist, even in the alternative version from the BPD files. Was there originally an extra final page which was since misplaced?

Return to Appeals – 2015 Motion to Reopen Post Conviction Proceedings

Reply to the Consolidated Response. October 13, 2015

Adnan’s attorney submitted a Reply to the State’s Consolidated Response and a separate file of exhibits, including several new documents. In particular Adnan’s call logs to 18th Feb and an affidavit from Abraham Waranowitz, who was the State’s expert cell phone witness in the original trials. Waranowitz had not spoken to Serial or subsequent media enquiries, and interestingly, when Urick heard Waranowitz had been speaking to Susan Simpson he contacted Waranowitz to warn him off. [@17m50s].

Detail of Exhibits

Ex 1. Affidavit from William Kanwisher, a former colleague of Gutierrez, October 2015. NEW
Ex 2. Affidavit from Krista R (formerly Krista M) Adnan and Hae’s friend from Woodlawn High School, October 2015. NEW
Ex 3. Fax cover sheet from AT&T to Baltimore City police with instructions, 22 February 1999 (also see Supplement above)
Ex 4. State’s Exhibit 31 Adnan’s call records as introduced at Trial 2 on 27 January 2000.
Ex 5. Adnan’s cell phone records – faxed from AT&T to police on Feb. 22 1999 (24 pages). NEW
This is a full length copy of the cell phone records, aka Subscriber Activity Reports, from Adnan’s attorney’s file. It is the version which has 5 columns, shows the cell towers, repeated lines for incoming calls, and is not redacted. It was originally faxed from AT&T to BPD on 22 February 1999.
Ex 6. Affidavit from Abraham Waranowitz NEW
Ex 7. Second Affidavit from Gerald “Jerry” Grant NEW

About Exhibit 2

Krista was a close friend of both Hae and Adnan at Woodlawn High School. In her affidavit she explains that “It was common at the time for Woodlawn High School students to go back and forth from school to the library – and we did not consider doing so to be leaving the campus.” As the State’s prosecutor is a former student of Woodlawn himself, it is strange that he continued to push this argument.

About Exhibit 4 – State’s Exhibit 31

This is the version of Adnan’s call records which was introduced at Trial 2 on 27 January 2000 as “certified business records”. The document is made up of pages from several different sources.
Page 1: AT&T verification page;
Page 2, Service Description (equivalent to p2 of this 15 col version of the cell phone records = State’s Att. 4 above),
Pages 3 to 5. Call records 9 -14 January 1999 (equivalent to p1-3 of the 5 col version of the cell phone records = Ex 5. below).

If you are interested in Exhibit 31 a couple of episodes of Undisclosed following the 2016 PCR hearing went into more detail.

Return to Appeals – 2015 Motion to Reopen Post Conviction Proceedings