Adnan Syed’s murder conviction has been restored in the latest developments in the long-running case featured in the hit podcast series.
In 2000, 17-year-old Saeed was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of 17-year-old ex-girlfriend and classmate Lee Hae-min.
In 1999, Ms. Lee was strangled to death and buried in a Baltimore park.
However, the 41-year-old was released in October after the Baltimore City state attorney said DNA evidence supported his innocence in the murder.
After that decision, Ms Lee’s family appealed, saying they had not been informed of efforts to free Saeed.
On Tuesday, a Maryland court reinstated the murder conviction and ordered a new trial of the case.
The court ruling, ruled by the Maryland Court of Appeals, said the lower court failed to adequately notify the victim’s family when scheduling the hearing last September, which made Said is free again.
this is what happened
In September 2022, after reviewing the case, prosecutors concluded that new evidence had been uncovered that undermined Syed’s conviction and pointed to two other suspects.
The lower court then scheduled a hearing on the state’s motion to dismiss the case.
Due to time constraints, Haimin’s younger brother Yingli was unable to attend the hearing in person.
Mr Lee asked the judge to postpone the proceedings for a week so he could appear in person, but that did not happen and he was forced to attend via Zoom.
Maryland law provides victims the right to advance notice of these hearings — and ruled a violation of the rules.
‘New hearings should be more transparent’
In court, lawyers argued that the victim’s family was treated as “in hindsight” when prosecutors determined their case had in fact been flawed from the start and the appeals court agreed.
“Allowing a victim who is entitled to appear in person to appear before the court, when the victim so requests and all others participating in the hearing, is consistent with the constitutional requirement that the victim be treated with dignity and respect,” the court ruled.
The court also said the new hearing should be more transparent, that if a motion to dismiss is filed, evidence is required and the court must give reasons for its decision.
However, the order will not take effect for 60 days.
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In a statement, Ms Lee’s family said they were “equally pleased that the Court of Appeal directed the lower court to conduct a transparent hearing where evidence will be presented in open court and the court’s decision will be based on evidence for the world to see.” “.
Syed’s lawyer, Erica Suter, said the appeal was “not about Adnan’s innocence, it’s about notice and discussion”.
Ms Souter added: “There is no basis whatsoever for Adnan to revert to the status of a convicted felon that would harm him again.”
The Baltimore State Attorney’s Office is reviewing the ruling.