The man at the center of Serial's first season, Adnan Syed, had his conviction reinstated in relation to the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.
In a 2-1 decision announced on Tuesday, March 28, the Appellate Court of Maryland ruled a lower court had violated the right of the victim's brother, Young Lee, who was prevented from attending the hearing that ultimately led to the 41-year-old's release in September 2022.
According to the New York Times, the ruling comes after Lee claimed he was only given one day's notice to travel from California to Maryland for the hearing. As a result, he was forced to attend the proceedings via Zoom, with Lee's lawyers alleging that the court had withheld evidence from the family by not giving the victim's brother a proper opportunity to be heard at the proceedings. In their decision, the Appellate Court of Maryland agreed with this point by saying the short turnaround was "insufficient time to reasonably allow Mr. Lee, who lived in California, to attend the hearing in person."
The decision continued, “We remand for a new, legally compliant, and transparent hearing on the motion to vacate, where Mr. Lee is given notice of the hearing that is sufficient to allow him to attend in person, evidence supporting the motion to vacate is presented, and the court states its reasons in support of its decision."
However, the publication also noted that while Syed's conviction has been reinstated, he will not be taken back into custody while waiting for a new trial. Both parties now have 60 days to figure out next steps, though Lee's family had already asked for a redo at the time of Syed's release.
The subject of the true crime podcast's immensely popular first season, Syed spent 23 years in prison after being convicted of strangling his former high school girlfriend, whose body was found buried in a Baltimore park. Syed was initially sentenced to life for first-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery and false imprisonment. However, Baltimore City Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn overturned the ruling last year, citing flaws with the original state investigation, including the existence of two other potential suspect, as well as evidence that was not properly turned over to Syed's attorneys.
You can read the New York Times' entire report about Syed's reinstated conviction here.
Photo via Getty / Lloyd Fox / The Baltimore Sun / Tribune News Service
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