Adnan Syed’s conviction overturned, released from prison

After more than two decades behind bars, Adnan Syed was released. The subject of the first season of Sarah Koenig’s “Serial” podcast was convicted of murder on Sept. 19 for the murder of Baltimore Woodlawn High School student Hae Min Lee, ABC News reported. Baltimore City Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby and Sentencing Review Unit (SRU) chief Becky Feldman had filed a motion Sept. 14 announcing they would seek the conviction overturned and that Syed may have one new process would receive.

“From the beginning of my administration, my prosecutors have vowed not only to aggressively advocate for victims of crime, but in the pursuit of justice – when evidence is available – to right past wrongs where doubt is evident,” Mosby said in a statement dated September 14th. “For that reason, after nearly a year of investigating the facts of this case, Syed deserves a new trial where he is properly represented and the most recent evidence can be presented. As stewards of the court, we have a duty to uphold the integrity of beliefs and do our part to rectify that norm. We have spoken to Ms. Hae Min Lee’s family and fully understand that the person responsible for this heinous crime must be held accountable.”

Prosecutors now have 30 days to either retry the case or drop the charges entirely. Mosby said in her previous statement that the city’s prosecutors are not alleging that Syed is innocent, but that the integrity of his first trial is being questioned.

Koenig’s investigation in “Serial” in 2014 focused on the sentencing of Syed, Lee’s classmate and ex-boyfriend, and raised questions about the circumstances surrounding his arrest. Syed, now 41, served his life sentence at the age of 17. By the time Serial began, Syed had been in prison for 15 years.

On Sept. 19, Judge Melissa M. Phinn of the Baltimore City Circuit ordered Syed to house arrest while prosecutors decide whether or not to start a new trial, the New York Times reported. Lee’s family was unhappy with the eviction request and unsuccessfully tried to delay the decision. City prosecutors did not immediately respond to POPSUGAR’s request for comment.

This isn’t the first time Syed’s conviction has been overturned. In June 2016, Baltimore Circuit Judge Martin Welch took evidence uncovered in the podcast and reversed his sentence. Syed was granted a new trial on the grounds that his former trial attorney failed to interview the prosecution’s cell phone expert, who used location data on incoming calls to corroborate a witness who claimed to have helped Syed bury Lee’s body .

Since 2016 there has been a lot of legal back and forth and many setbacks. The state appealed after the motion for a retrial was granted, and in March 2018 the Maryland Court of Special Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision for a retrial. The state again appealed to the Maryland Supreme Court. The appeals court agreed to hear both the state’s appeal and Syed’s counter-appeal in July 2018. In 2019, the Court of Appeals restored Syed’s murder conviction, ruling that he did not deserve a new trial. The 4-3 vote found that while Syed’s defense during his 2000 murder trial was “deficient,” it “did not prejudice” the case, meaning the evidence against him was strong.

Following a law change in Maryland, Mosby’s office launched the in-depth investigation that led to Monday’s decision to vacate the home. Two alternative suspects had been identified as part of this investigation.

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