Adnan Syed gets new trial
Adnan Syed, the subject of the hit podcast series Serialwalked out of court to cheers after a Maryland judge overturned his murder conviction and ordered his release after over 23 years behind bars.
Baltimore City Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn vacated the 41-year-old’s conviction and granted him a new trial on Monday.
The quashing of his conviction came after prosecutors said that an almost year-long investigation had cast doubts about the validity of cellphone tower data and uncovered new information about the possible involvement of two alternate unnamed suspects.
Officials now have 30 days to decide whether they will fully drop the charges against Mr Syed. There’s reason to believe they will.
In the meantime, Mr Syed will remain on home detention with a GPS bracelet monitoring his movements.
Mr Syed was convicted in 2000 of first-degree murder, robbery, kidnapping and imprisonment of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee.
Lee, 18, vanished after leaving her high school on January 13, 1999. Her strangled body was found in a shallow grave in a Baltimore park around a month later. Mr Syed has always maintained his innocence.
Voices: Adnan Syed’s conviction should have been thrown out a long time ago
When it comes to the Adnan Syed case, as Clemence Michallon writes in her latest Voices column, not guilty was “the only possible conclusion in 2014, and it remains the only possible conclusion now, eight years later,” given all the holes in the original prosecution.
Read her full piece below.
Josh Marcus20 September 2022 08:30
Adnan Syed speaks after release from prison
Adnan Syed said he “can’t believe it’s real” as he walked out of court a free man after a Baltimore judge overturned his conviction for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee.
Baltimore City Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn vacated the 41-year-old’s conviction “in the interest of justice” on Monday and granted him a new trial, marking the latest dramatic twist in a case that has captured attention across the globe.
Syed’s shackles were removed and the judge ordered him to be released under home detention while the investigation continues into Lee’s murder.
Minutes later, he was met by a roar of cheers as he walked down the steps of the courthouse and got into a waiting vehicle. Syed smiled and flashed the peace sign at his supporters but declined to make any comments.
Rachel Sharp has more on what the Maryland man said after 23 years in prison.
Serial podcast’s Adnan Syed ‘can’t believe it’s real’ after murder conviction quashed
Syed has spent the last two decades behind bars for the 1999 murder of his former girlfriend Hae Min Lee
Josh MarcusSeptember 20, 2022 07:30
Alternate suspects emerge in Adnan Syed case
Adnan Syed walked out of court a free man on Monday, after an almost year-long investigation uncovered new evidence about the possible involvement of two alternative suspects in the 1999 slaying of student Hae Min Lee.
Here’s what we know about the other suspects so far.
Adnan Syed: What we know about two alternate suspects in ‘Serial’ murder
The Serial podcast named Ronald Lee Moore, a career criminal and accused murderer from Baltimore, as a suspect in Hae Min Lee’s slaying
Josh Marcus20 September 2022 06:30
The Supreme Court decision that may deny Adnan Syed legal recourse
One of the key claims used in vacating Adnan Syed’s murder conviction is that prosecutors witheld valuable evidence from his defence, in what’s known as a Brady violation.
You would think, then, that if this could be shown, Mr Syed could sue prosecutors for denying him his full legal rights and 23 years of his life as a result.
Instead, because of an obscure 1976 Supreme Court case called Imbler v Pachtman, prosecutors can’t be sued for deliberately witholding evidence.
At the time, the high court noted that such a ruling would deny the “genuinely wronged” legal remedy, but that this result was worth it because it is “better to leave unredressed the wrongs done by dishonest officers than to subject those who try to do their duty to the constant dread of retaliation.” Many government officials enjoy wide immunity from lawsuits.
“It’s one of the most egregious, harmful state abuses of power imaginable, utterly without civil remedy,” civil rights lawyer Hannah Marie noted on Twitter on Monday.
Josh Marcus20 September 2022 05:30
What’s next for Adnan Syed?
First, Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby, whose office sought to have Mr Syed’s conviction vacated in the first place, must decide whether to press new charges.
Subsequent investigations have revealed evidence of other suspects wasn’t shared with Mr Syed’s defence, prosecutors said.
That evidence, in addition to ongoing DNA testing on evidentiary materials in the case, will likely weigh on Ms Mosby’s decision.
In the meantime, Mr Syed will remain on home detention with a GPS bracelet monitoring his movements. The Maryland Attorney General’s Office says it stands by its decision to fight Mr Syed’s appeals over the years, and accused Ms Mosby’s effort to vacate the conviction of containing “serious problems.” It also denied committing a so-called Brady Violation, which occurs when officials fail to turn over potentially exculpatory evidence to those accused of crimes. “Neither State’s Attorney Mosby nor anyone from her office bothered to consult with either the Assistant State’s Attorney who prosecuted the case or with anyone in my office regarding these alleged violations,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh told the Baltimore Sun in a statement. “The file in this case was made available on several occasions to the defense.”
Josh Marcus20 September 2022 04:30
Is America too addicted to true crime stories?
Maybe you’ve seen The Thing About Pam, the recent NBC black comedy starring Renee Zellwegger as convicted killer Pam Hupp – and you devoured it in one binge-session. Or maybe you watched it week to week, reading reviews of how much time Zellwegger spent in the makeup chair.
But you probably didn’t know that a detective who worked on the actual Hupp case thought the show was “despicable,” misrepresentative of the case, the witnesses, the investigation, and everything else.
The true crime phenomenon shows no sign of slowing down – as documentaries, podcasts, dramatizations and all manner of content continues to explode across platforms – and the reaction of that Hupp detective is not unusual. Armchair sleuths may spend countless hours poring over the lives of crime victims while concocting their own theories, but family members, investigators, victims themselves and even offenders frequently bristle when they see portrayals of their own lives.
Sheila Flynn has this look at the hidden impacts of America’s true crime obsession.
True crime is a guilty pleasure. Victims, families, and killers have words of warning
From podcasts to primetime, true crime content has been exploding exponentially for almost a decade, as streaming services diversify and lockdown habits increase consumption. But everyone from victims’ relatives to serial killers themselves are asking one question: Is it harmful? Sheila Flynn reports
Josh MarcusSeptember 20, 2022 03:30
Adnan Syed fundraises for return to life outside of prison
Adnan Syed is freshly out of prison after spending 23 years behind bars, after his conviction for the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, a high school ex-girlfriend, was vacated on Monday.
His journey isn’t over however.
Officials now have 30 days to devide whether to bring new charges against Mr Syed, or the alternative suspects that have been identified since he was incarcerated.
In the meantime, Mr Syed, 41, is fundraising for his life outside of prison, seeking $50,000 his team says will go towards legal expenses and supporting his re-integration.
Josh MarcusSeptember 20, 2022 02:30
Looking back at the podcast that made Adnan Syed a household name
Adnan Syed’s story wasn’t always high-profile.
It took Seriala spinoff from the podcast This American Lifeto bring new attention to the case
Clemence Michallon has this look at how an unassuming show played on public radio stations across the US helped shine a new light on a tangled police investigation.
How Serial revolutionized true crime and cast doubt on Adnan Syed’s murder conviction
As Baltimore prosecutors ask for Adnan Syed’s conviction to be vacated, Clémence Michallon remembers the podcast that transformed a genre
Josh MarcusSeptember 20, 2022 01:45
Timeline of the murder of Hae Min Lee and legal battle of Adnan Syed
More than two decades on from his arrest for the murder of his former girlfriend, Adnan Syed is set to finally walk free from prison.
On Monday, Baltimore City Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn threw out the 41-year-old’s conviction and granted him a new trial, ordering his release after spending the last 23 years behind bars.
Syed, who was 17 when he was accused of killing Hae Min Lee, will be released from prison today.
Syed’s sudden release marks just the latest twist in a legal battle that has rumbled on for more than two decades – and during which he has always maintained his innocence.
Read a timeline of the case so far:
Timeline of the murder of Hae Min Lee and legal battle of Adnan Syed
Syed’s sudden release marks just the latest twist in a case that has rumbled on for more than two decades
Rachel SharpSeptember 20, 2022 01:15
Celebrities react to Adnan Syed’s release
Celebrities who were fans of the Serial podcast or had other ties to the case reacted to the bombshell news of Adnan Syed’s release on Twitter.
“Case is overturned!!! Adnan Syed is once again presumed innocent in the eyes of the law”, wrote the Pretty in Pink actor Jon Cryer.
The Independent‘s Amanda Whiting has the full story:
Celebrities react to Serial podcast subject Adnan Syed’s release from prison
Syed’s case was popularized in journalist Sarah Koenig’s 2014 podcast
Rachel SharpSeptember 20, 2022 00:45