We Value Your Privacy

This site uses cookies to improve user experience. By continuing to browse, you accept the use of cookies and other technologies.


In a Controversial Update, Adnan Syed's Murder Conviction Has Been Reinstated

The case featured in the popular podcast 'Serial' faces another roadblock on the path to justice.

adnan syed's conviction has been reinstated
  • camera-icon
  • Photo Credit: HBO

On September 19th of 2022, Adnan Syed was released from prison after serving 23 years for the murder of 18-year-old Hae Min Lee. After doubts arose during the appeal of Syed's case, the Baltimore Circuit Court overturned the conviction. Now, just six months later, Syed has been re-labeled a convicted felon.

Syed was sentenced to life in prison back in 2000 after an anonymous phone call directed the police to him and a friend confessed to helping Syed dispose of Lee's body. Syed's legal team insisted that the evidence wielded in the conviction was unreliable. In 2022, a new batch of DNA testing was done on several items of Lee's clothing. These tests revealed DNA belonging to "multiple contributors," yet Syed's DNA was not among them.

Syed's conviction has been reinstated following an appeal made by Lee's family, claiming they did not receive proper notification of the efforts to release Syed. Prosecutor Becky Feldman contacted Lee's brother, Young, on September 12th to inform him that the state was filing a motion to vacate Syed's conviction. This allowed him only a couple days to arrange travel to the hearing in Maryland from his home in California.

In response to this being insufficient time, one of Syed's attorneys, Erica Suter, argued that, in this day and age, attending via Zoom should have been a sufficient option. However, deciding that officials did, in fact, fail to provide enough notice for Lee's family to attend the hearing, the Maryland appeals court ruled in the Lee's favor. Another hearing about evidence intended to vacate Syed's conviction will be held with Lee's family present.

Judge Stuart R. Berger wrote a dissenting opinion of the court's decision to reinstate Syed's conviction due to this alleged procedural error. He stated that the Lee's have no right to speak at a hearing over whether a conviction should be vacated and that an electronic presence was a valid fulfillment of their rights.

As disheartening as this update may be for Syed and his loved ones, there is no cause to believe that he will be returned to prison. The reinstatement of his conviction comes down to a purely procedural issue, and the prosecutor has stated that the evidence they have points to alternative suspects. An investigation into the murder of Lee is still ongoing.

Disagreeing with the assertion of Syed's innocence, Lee's family is thrilled with the court's decision to reinstate the conviction. A statement from the family reads, "We are equally pleased that the Appellate Court is directing the lower court to conduct a transparent hearing where the evidence will be presented in open court and the court’s decision will be based on evidence for the world to see." 

Suter argued that there was no basis for returning Syed to the status of a convicted felon. She went on to say that in order to ensure justice for Lee, there did not have to be injustice in re-traumatizing Syed. Syed's legal team has plans to seek a review in state Supreme Court.