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Syed v. Maryland
Brief for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Petitioner (on petition for a writ of certiorari).
Argument: The Maryland Court of Appeals’ decision is the first and only to hold that trial counsel’s failure to investigate an unbiased and credible alibi witness is not prejudicial. Such an unforeseen decision will impact criminal defendants and, in particular, habeas petitioners, far beyond Maryland’s borders. Both state and federal courts across the country have found prejudice from trial counsel’s failure to call a credible, non-cumulative, and neutral, alibi witness. Those courts have found prejudice even when the government relies on evidence that the alibi witness may not rebut. The decision below calls into question this “clearly established” legal precedent, impairing the ability to remedy nationwide these unique and meritorious ineffective assistance of counsel claims.
Maryland v. Syed
Brief of Amicus Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Support of Respondent/Cross Petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration
Argument: The majority opinion is out of step with other jurisdictions in the United States, which uniformly have found trial counsel’s failure to investigate and introduce testimony from a credible, neutral alibi witness to be prejudicial. By creating a split on an issue where the courts are otherwise uniform, the majority opinion risks cascading consequences for habeas claims around the nation.