A Maryland appeals court on Tuesday reinstated the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, the host of the “Serial” podcast, who was acquitted last year after 23 years in prison for killing his former high school girlfriend.
A Maryland appeals court ruled in September that a trial court had violated the rights of Young Lee, the brother of victim Hae Min Lee, to have Mr. Syed was notified to attend the trial when a judge vacated his conviction.
At 2-to-1 ConclusionThe Court of Appeals reversed the trial court. Mr. Mr. Unlike the previous hearing, which would have given Lee enough notice to appear in person, he joined via Zoom.
Mr. Syed, 41, did not decide whether to return to prison immediately because the appeals court suspended its ruling for 60 days, giving both sides time to consider next steps, Mr. said David Sanford, one of Lee’s attorneys. .
Mr. For agreeing with Lee, Mr. Sanford praised the appeals court.
“We are pleased that the Court of Appeals is directing the lower court to conduct a transparent hearing in which evidence is presented in open court, and the court’s decision is based on evidence that the world can see,” Mr. Sanford said in a statement.
Mr. Syed’s attorney, Erica J. Suter, Mr. He said he plans to appeal the decision to reinstate Syed’s sentence to the state’s highest court, the Maryland Supreme Court.
“There is no basis for re-traumatizing Adnan by returning him to the status of a convicted felon,” Ms Sutter said in a statement. “For now, Adnan remains a free man.”
“Adnan doesn’t need injustice to ensure Hae Min Lee gets justice,” he added.
State Attorney’s Office for Baltimore City, Mr. That prompted Syed’s conviction to be overturned, and spokesman James E. Bentley II said.
“We should let the appeals process play itself out,” said Mr. Bentley said in a statement. “Mr. Syed and his legal team can appeal to the Maryland Supreme Court, and we must respect their rights to do so until those rights are heard or that request is denied; we are in a holding pattern.
Doug Colbert, a law professor who teaches criminal procedure at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, called the decision “shocking and surprising.”
In his first bail hearing since his arrest in 1999, Mr. Briefly represented on behalf of Syed, Mr. Colbert, in an interview, said it was odd that the court found that the Zoom call did not satisfy the victim’s next-of-kin rights. to be heard.
“The court respects and honors Mr. Lee’s right to speak,” he said. Still, a new trial in this case Mr. He added that Syed’s decision is unlikely to be reversed. “It’s very difficult to imagine something new happening in the process,” said Mr. Colbert said.
Victims’ rights advocate Paul Cassell said the decision was welcome news for those fighting to give victims of crime more voice.
“It sets a precedent,” said University of Utah’s S.J. A former federal judge who teaches victims’ rights at Quincy College of Law, Mr. Cassell said. “When this case brings attention to what it is, when lawyers are available to assert their rights, I think the rights of the victims will be respected.”
Mr. Lee argued that the trial court gave her only 30 minutes notice to run home, gather her thoughts without input from her attorney, talk openly about her sister’s murder, and without any information about the evidence supporting the state’s claim. Mr. Revoke Syed’s conviction.
Mr. Lee asked the trial court to adjourn the hearing so he could appear in person, but Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Melissa M. Finn rejects her request. Mr. Lee later joined Zoom’s trial after one of his lawyers called him to work.
“This is not a podcast for me,” said Mr. Lee asked to raise his voice as he addressed the court. “This is real life — a never-ending dream for 20-plus years.”
Mr. After Lee spoke, Judge Finn, Mr. Syed’s conviction was vacated, prosecutors said. They failed to turn over evidence that could have helped Syed’s investigation and discovered new evidence that could have affected the outcome of his case.
Mr. Syed was serving a life sentence for the 1999 strangulation of Ms Lee, who was buried in a Baltimore park. Mr. Syed was convicted in 2000 of first-degree murder, kidnapping, robbery and forgery. Imprisonment.
Court of Appeal, Judge Finn, Mr. To quash Syed’s convictions, Mr. The finding denied Lee’s request that it be held in September “even if it is not shown to be necessary.”
Maryland law gives victims’ relatives the right to pre-trial notice and to attend the hearing on a motion to vacate, the court said.
David Gray, who Francis King, who teaches criminal law and procedure at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law, expressed concern that the decision could set a precedent for victims to enter criminal cases themselves.
“It’s a big old mess, and I think it’s the result of giving the victim competent standing in a criminal case.”