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Thursday, December 8, 2022

‘Serial’ Podcast Subject Adnan Syed’s Sentence Vacated by Maryland Judge

The victim's brother, Young Lee, testified in court that he and his family felt deceived by the prosecution's decision to shift course after sticking by the conviction for so long

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

UNITED STATES: Adnan Syed’s 2000 murder conviction was overturned by a Maryland judge on Monday after the prosecution alleged serious flaws in the proceedings, including the failure to disclose to the defence two more potential suspects in the death of his ex-girlfriend.

The podcast “Serial” placed doubt on his guilt, which brought the case to national prominence. Hae Min Lee, then 18 years old, was strangled and buried in a park in Baltimore in 1999. Syed, now 42, has consistently maintained his innocence and denied killing her.

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Judge Melissa Phinn of the Circuit Court in Baltimore mandated that Syed be put on home detention after being freed from prison, where he was serving a life sentence, and that a new trial be set. Phinn concluded the session by saying, “All right Syed, you are free to join your family.”

Despite his silence, Syed smiled as he left the courthouse amid cheers from the audience.

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The state’s attorney for Baltimore filed a motion to reverse the conviction on Wednesday after a year-long investigation with Syed’s public defender during which numerous problems with witnesses and trial evidence were found.

The prosecution informed the court that while they had lost faith in “the integrity of the conviction,” they were not yet asserting Syed’s innocence and that justice required at the very least that Syed be given a new trial.

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They argued that Syed, who has been imprisoned for more than 20 years, should be set free while the inquiry was still ongoing and prosecutors considered whether to seek a new trial or charge a different suspect.

Found new information; cited doubts over cellphone data

Authorities claimed to have discovered fresh information regarding two unnamed alternate suspects, one of whom had made a death threat against Lee, and whom both had a history of committing violent crimes against women. The first prosecutors were aware of their names, but they did not provide the defence with that information as required by law.

Adnan Syed; Photo Credit: Twitter

Additionally, prosecutors determined that a crucial witness and the investigator who looked into the crime were unreliable. They also uncovered fresh evidence that contradicted the cellphone data that the prosecution had used in court to establish Syed’s presence at the crime scene.

Becky Feldman, an assistant state attorney, detailed factors that cast doubt on the conviction, such as questionable witness testimony and a possibly biased detective.

“I realise how difficult this is, but we need to make sure we hold the right individual accountable,” Feldman added.

The victim’s family felt betrayed

The victim’s brother, Young Lee, testified in court that he and his family felt deceived by the prosecution’s decision to shift course after sticking by the conviction for so long.

With his voice occasionally breaking and trembling, he continued, “It’s incredibly tough to go through this again and again and again. It’s a nightmare come true.”

The family of Lee expressed their frustration at the time, saying, “It continues to be difficult to witness so many people race to protect someone who perpetrated a terrible crime, who shattered our family, and who refuses to accept responsibility when so few are prepared to speak up for Hae.”

Additionally, the family stated, “Unlike others who read about this case online, we sat and watched every day of both trials – so many witnesses, so much evidence.”

In 2014, the case gained widespread attention thanks to the podcast “Serial,” which was created by Chicago public radio station WBEZ.

After the hearing, Marilyn Mosby, the state’s attorney for Baltimore, addressed the media with the statement, “Justice over convictions is not only our mantra but our mission.” Before revealing her next move, she claimed that her office was awaiting fresh DNA test results.

Also Read: Melbourne Man Jack Ledlin Found Guilty of Murdering Cameron Smith


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