Adnan Syed’s Conviction Has Been Reinstated, Perhaps Briefly, And Will Likely Necessitate A Do-Over Hearing

Last spring brought good news for Adnan Syed, who was convicted in 2000 of a murder he always maintained he didn’t commit: His conviction was vacated after a new investigation turned up evidence that exposed the sloppiness of the original trial. But about half a year after Syed was set free, his conviction has been, perhaps briefly, reinstated.

As per The Washington Post, a Maryland appellate court on Tuesday, after a 2-1 vote, ordered a do-over of the hearing that set Syed free. The panel ruled that the circuit court judge involved in the hearing had violated the rights of Young Lee, the brother of the victim, Hae Min Lee, that Syed had been convicted of killing.

Young Lee had argued that he was only given less than a day’s warning about the hearing, which didn’t give him enough time to attend. The appellate court panel has now ordered that the circuit court a “new, legally compliant, transparent hearing,” with Young Lee given enough time to make plans to attend in person.

“All they are seeking is what the law requires — a full evidentiary hearing in which they can meaningfully participate and one that makes public the relevant evidence,” said an attorney for the Lee family.

As such, Syed’s conviction has been at least temporarily reinstated until after the hearing. It’s not entirely clear what will happen next, but the panel said the legal teams will be given at least 60 days to prepare for a redo hearing.

Following the news, Erica Suter, Syed’s counsel, released a statement maintaining Syed’s innocence and stressing that the motion to vacate his conviction was not “erroneous.” Suter said they agree with the lone dissenting judge that “the appeal is moot and that Mr. Lee’s attendance over Zoom was sufficient.” They added that there is “no basis for re-traumatizing Adnan by returning him to the status of a convicted felon.” She added, “For the time being, Adnan remains a free man.”

Syed was 17 when he was arrested for the murder of Hae Min Lee and convicted the following year. His representatives spent years battling for his release. His case became national news after it was covered on the podcast Serial, whose team of researchers poked many holes in the case against him. Amy Berg, who directed the HBO doc series The Case Against Adnan Syed, announced last year that she was making another episode covering his release.

(Via The Post)