Murder conviction of Adnan Syed reinstated by Maryland appeals court months after he was freed


A Maryland appeals court has reinstated the murder conviction against Adnan Syed, roughly six months after Baltimore prosecutors provided new evidence in the 1999 killing of Hae Min Lee, due to a lower court’s violation of the victim’s family right to attend the hearing to vacate the conviction.

The 41-year-old Syed, whose conviction was made famous by the podcast “Serial,” had his conviction tossed out by a circuit court and the state’s attorney’s office. He had been serving a life sentence for the past 23 years — more than half his life — since his arrest in 1999.

Syed was released from prison in October after Baltimore City State Attorney Marilyn Mosby said DNA evidence supported his Syed’s innocence. Lee’s family filed an appeal, arguing that they were not properly notified of the efforts to release Syed, and the Maryland appeals court ruled in their favor, stating that officials failed to provide sufficient notice for Lee’s family to attend the hearing.

Tuesday’s decision is seen as a procedural issue, and there is no reason to believe Syed will be sent back to prison. A new hearing will be held regarding the evidence to vacate Syed’s conviction, but the previous murder charges have been reinstated in the interim. The prosecutor has indicated that there is evidence pointing to other suspects and that the investigation is ongoing.

Editorial credit: John B Hewitt /

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