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Serial's Adnan Syed's latest appeal is still pending

Dylan Matthews is a senior correspondent and head writer for Vox's Future Perfect section and has worked at Vox since 2014. He is particularly interested in global health and pandemic prevention, anti-poverty efforts, economic policy and theory, and conflicts about the right way to do philanthropy.

Correction: This article originally stated that Adnan Syed's latest appeal had been denied by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. This was based on a tweet from an NBC news reporter that mistook a document from prosecutors arguing for such a denial for a ruling. In fact, the decision has yet to be made. We sincerely regret the error. The post below has been corrected.

Adnan Syed — whose conviction for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee was the topic of the massively popular podcast series Serial — has an appeal pending with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

Syed is claiming that his lawyer, Christina Gutierrez, had provided ineffective assistance during his trial. The specific issue was a request Syed says he made for Gutierrez to ask prosecutors about a plea deal.

Not being considered is the question — fiercely debated among Serial followers — of whether the inconsistencies in prosecution witness Jay Wilds' statements indicate that Syed cannot be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and thus should not be incarcerated.

If Syed's appeal is denied, the decision cannot be appealed further in state court, but Deirdre Enright of the Innocence Project Clinic at University of Virginia Law School, which is working on the case, has said it plans to petition to test DNA evidence which could exculpate Syed. That, effectively, is his last chance. To quote University of South Carolina law professor Colin Miller, "After this, his only avenue is DNA testing in state court."

See our guide to the players in Serial here, and our explainer of the show and the case here.