Arrest and Bail

About Adnan’s Arrest and Applications for Release on Bail in 1999 plus Further Bail Applications from 2016


District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City

Arrest Warrant and Statement of Charges 28 February 1999
Initial Appearance, 28 February 1999

Where was Adnan held after his arrest?

After his arrest on 28 Feb 1999, it was reported that Adnan was taken to “Central Booking” aka CBIC or the Central Booking Intake Center, on 300 E. Madison St. The 300 E. Madison St is the actual CBIC address, although there is also a property pick-up address nearby at “301 E. Eager St”.
The next day, 1 March, Adnan was moved to the Baltimore City Detention Center (BCDC), according to this BCDC visitor and movements log, where he stayed until after the second trial. BCDC was located at “401 E. Eager St”, close by to the CBIC, although it has since been closed down in 2015 after many corruption scandals and years of reports of dangerous conditions.

1999 – Applying for Bail after arrest

District Court of Maryland for Baltimore

1 March 1999. Judge Hargrove presided, but no direct record of the hearing is available. State was represented by ASA Barbara Richmond (mispelt as Richman in Chris Flohr’s notes) and Chief of Homicide Division Mark Cohen. Detectives Ritz and MacGillivary were also present. Adnan’s date of birth was incorrectly stated, making him appear to be 18 years old, so he was judged as an adult and as if this were a capital case where the death penalty was possible.

9 March 1999. After the hearing attorney Douglas Colbert writes to Judge Hargrove, for reconsideration of No Bail status

Circuit Court for Baltimore City

31 March 1999 Transcript of Bail Hearing, Judge David Mitchell. Adnan is represented by Doug Colbert (with Chris Flohr). The State is represented by Vickie Wash (also present throughout was Mark Cohen, Chief of Homicide Division at the SAO and Detectives Ritz and MacGillivary). The date of birth error was resolved, but the State was later forced to apologise for the racist arguments Wash used at this hearing.

1 April 1999 Judge David Mitchell’s Denial of Bail. In 2016, the State attempted to use this decision in its opposition to a Motion for Bail, pending the retrial. Judge Welch gave that short shrift, noting the decision was informed by the State’s misleading “xenophobic and a gendered, cultural stereotype of Pakistani men….made without any basis in fact” and finding that those problems were “so egregious that it negate[d] the circuit court giving that bail decision any weight”.

14 April 1999. Colbert contacts Harry Marshall, Senior Legal Advisor – Office of International Affairs U.S. Department of Justice about the claims which Wash said Marshall had made about a pattern of absconding Pakistani men. Marshall refused to comment, but immediately afterwards he tries to contact Wash (as noted by Wash here).

Court of Special Appeals

14 April 1999. Colbert applies to the Court of Special Appeals asking them to review Judge Mitchell’s “No Bail” decision (noted by Colbert here).

21 April 1999.

Wash writes to Judge Mitchell to “correct the record” about “two of the statements [she] made to court” during Adnan’s bail hearing and apologizing for misleading the Court. (These were amongst the statements which Judge Welch later calls a “xenophobic stereotype without basis in fact”).

22 April 1999. Colbert writes to Patricia Jessamy, the elected State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, asking to discuss ASA Vickie Wash’s “improper and erroneous assertions concerning Mr. Syed’s nationality, ethnicity, ancestry, and religion” and describing Wash’s presentation as “wholly outside the boundaries of proper argument.”

3 May 1999. Colbert submits a Motion to CSA asking them to add Vicky Wash’s “correction” to the record.

13 May 1999. Court of Special Appeals denies Adnan’s request to review

1999 – Applying for Bail after the first (mis)trial

Circuit Court for Baltimore City

20 December 1999. Adnan’s trial attorney, Tina Gutierrez files a new Motion for Reviewing No Bail Status, following the first Trial being declared a Mistrial, and considering the earlier revelation that Vickie Wash had misled the court as new information. Date filed as per Evidence Prof

3 January 2000. Gutierrez responds to a hearing date set for review of Bail asking for a different date, as she is out of town on the 7th. She also questions why part of her earlier Motion had been overridden – seemingly a breach of protocol, it had requested Judge Mitchell to hear the Motion, he was the Judge that Vickie Wash had to apologize to for her racist misrepresentations at the earlier Bail hearing.

Motion Denied. Although we don’t have any more documents about this application, as Adnan was not released, we can assume this Motion was denied, and there are several dates noted on the Maryland CaseSearch database which might have been the date of a hearing.

2016 – Applying for Bail after the retrial is granted

Circuit Court for Baltimore City

24 October 2016. After Adnan’s conviction was overturned in 2016, his attorney C Justin Brown applied for Adnan to get bail, submitting a Motion for Release Pending Appeal (with exhibits of additional supportive evidence including Jay Wild’s subsequent police/court records and a pathologist report disproving the State’s claimed burial time). Broadly the grounds are Adnan’s exemplary behaviour, community support and because the “State’s evidence against Syed…has crumbled in the face of ongoing investigation.” A breakdown of the exhibits provided in support can be found on this separate wiki page.

7 November 2016. State of MD filed their Response to Motion for Release, opposing Adnan’s bail request. There was (temporarily) a new lead attorney, “Chief Special Counsel” Charlton T. Howard. The State’s brief quoted the Maryland Criminal Code § 7-109(b)(2) but somehow replaced the word “AND” with “OR”, and subsequently tried to persuade the Court that this misquoted law meant that bail for Adnan could not legally even be considered.

18 November 2016. Adnan’s defense attorney C Justin Brown submitted Adnan’s Reply to the recent “Response” from the State to the Baltimore City Circuit Court. Amongst other things he was able to clarify the current Maryland Criminal Code § 7-109(b)(2) as the Maryland Attorney General’s office had apparently not been aware of the correct wording.

28 December 2016. Judge Martin Welch responded that Adnan will not be allowed out on bail. Welch believed he didn’t have the authority due to the pending CSA Appeals, and also because he wanted to demonstrate “an overabundance of caution” with respect to the rules he said apply in this case and the seriousness of the charges. He also denied the State’s request to consider the earlier bail hearing in March 31, 1999 because Welch found that ASA Vickie Wash’s arguments for the State were “xenophobic and a gendered, cultural stereotype of Pakistani men….made without any basis in fact”, he noted that those problems were “so egregious that it negate[d] the circuit court giving that bail decision any weight”.

Court of Special Appeals – Applying for Leave to Appeal the denial of Bail

27 January 2017. Justin Brown submitted an Application for Leave to Appeal (ALA) which is still pending a decision, likely dependent on the CSA Judges decision following the June 2017 hearings at the Court of Special Appeals. The legal journey up and down the Maryland court system for this case has been unique and there is no established procedure to be followed at this point.

28 December 2017. Justin Brown confirmed on his blog that CSA had, sometime earlier, denied leave to appeal in this case. We do not know the exact date of denial.

2018 – Possibility of Applying for Bail after CSA decision in Adnan’s favor

29 March 2018. Adnan won the appeal to CSA and the CSA panel of judges agreed he should indeed have a new trial. During a press conference the same day, Justin Brown was asked if Adnan would apply for bail again and replied that they would discuss it soon. Although there has been no further news about this, the State lodged their appeal to the higher Court of Appeals a few weeks later, which means that the same arguments that prevented Adnan being given bail while the State’s CSA appeal was in progress will now apply and success is unlikely.

Further information

More information about the bail process can be found at the EvidenceProf Blog (use our index to search the posts) and in various Undisclosed Podcast episodes including Season 1, Episode 7 and Addendum (discussing 1999 events) and Bonus Episode: Bail (2016 application for Bail) and Bonus Addendum: Conditions of Release (feat. Chris Flohr discussing original & new applications).

Some other files from the time when Doug Colbert and Chris Flohr were representing Adnan (to get him out of detention on bail) were passed on to his trial defense attorney, Tina Gutierrez. During the February 2016 PCR hearing in Baltimore it was agreed that Gutierrez’s entire files should be submitted as evidence and it became part of the official court records for this case. Although the entire file has not been publicly released during the 2017 Court of Special Appeals process, a very partial selection of that folder was included in a State Appendix, (the only appendix from that process which COSA chose to make available online). Included amongst the selection were pages from Colbert and Flohr’s time that are relevant to the 1999 bail hearings, mostly Flohr’s handwritten records of phone calls.  Find those files on the 2017 COSA State Appendix wiki page.