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is adnan still in jail?

4 Answer(s) Available
Answer # 1 #

Syed, whose conviction was made famous by the podcast "Serial," was released from prison in October after Baltimore City State Attorney Marilyn Mosby said DNA evidence supported his innocence.

Lee's family had filed an appeal, arguing that they were not properly notified of the efforts to release Syed last year.

The Maryland appeals court ruled in their favor, saying officials failed to provide sufficient notice for Lee's family to attend the hearing.

A new hearing will be held about the evidence to vacate Syed's conviction; the previous murder charges have been reinstated in the interim.

Tuesday's decision and the new hearing are seen as a procedural issue, and there is no reason to believe Syed will be sent back to prison. The prosecutor has indicated that there is evidence pointing to other suspects and that the investigation continues.

Lee's family said they were delighted with the court's decision.

“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," the family said in a statement.

Erica Suter, an attorney for Syed, said in a statement Tuesday that the appeal was "not about Adnan’s innocence but about notice and mootness."

"There is no basis for re-traumatizing Adnan by returning him to the status of a convicted felon," Suter said, adding that Syed's team intends to seek a review in state Supreme Court. "Ensuring justice for Hae Min Lee does not require injustice for Adnan."

Syed’s family friend Rabia Chaudry, an attorney who took his case to "Serial" producer Sarah Koenig, tweeted that she would host an Instagram Live session Wednesday to discuss the development.

In the interim, Rabia said, she stands by "the integrity of the evidence that exonerated Adnan and urge the Baltimore Police and States Attorney’s office to find the source of the DNA on the victims shoes and find Hae Min Lee’s actual killer."

Lee was 18 when she was found buried in Baltimore’s Leakin Park. Investigators targeted Syed, her ex-boyfriend, as the prime suspect.

He was sentenced to life in prison in 2000. Advocates have said that the evidence used to convict him was unreliable and that police ignored leads to other potential suspects.

Last year, Baltimore officials said a round of new DNA testing on Lee’s skirt, pantyhose, shoes and jacket showed DNA belonging to “multiple contributors.”

Syed’s DNA was not found in the new tests.

The state said there were two other potential suspects in Lee's murder, one of whom had threatened to kill her. Syed's case was subject to a Brady violation, as prosecutors failed to disclose the evidence to his defense team.

Prosecutor Becky Feldman said moments before a judge vacated Syed’s conviction, “The state has lost confidence in the integrity of this conviction and believes that it is in the interest of justice and fairness that his convictions be vacated.”

Feldman contacted Lee's brother, Young, on Sept. 12 to let him know the state was filing a motion to vacate the conviction, according to Tuesday's ruling. He was then given only a few days' notice of the hearing time, which would have required him to fly from his home in California to attend in person.

The majority opinion in the appellate court ruling said the result of a hearing will be to either reinstate the initial conviction or vacate it again.

"Accordingly, the violation of Mr. Lee’s rights can be remedied without violating Mr. Syed’s constitutional right to be free from double jeopardy," the ruling said.

Suter, one of Syed's attorneys, had argued that teleconferencing by Zoom was sufficient to satisfy the Lee family's rights to attend the hearing and discuss the impact vacating the conviction would have on them.

Khadijha Downs
Answer # 2 #

Syed, whose conviction was made famous by the podcast "Serial ," was released from prison in October after Baltimore City State Attorney Marilyn Mosby said DNA evidence supported his innocence.

Anat Belcourt
Answer # 3 #

Millions of people know about Adnan’s case thanks to Serial, a podcast led by Sarah Koenig and her team of investigative journalists. In weekly episodes, their reporting cast doubts on the prosecutor’s case against Adnan as well as the competence of his defense team, though she told NPR at the time that she sent out to report on, not necessarily exonerate Adnan. “I’m not here to exonerate Adnan,” she said. “I’m here to report this story. I don’t know what I’m going to find, and I might find evidence that he’s guilty, and we should all be prepared for that.” After two decades behind bars, Adnan Syed’s sentence was vacated and on October 11, 2022, prosecutors announced they were dropping murder charges. “Finally, Adnan Syed is able to live as a free man,” Adnan’s lawyer, Erica J. Suter, said in a statement, per the New York Times. “The DNA results confirmed what we have already known and what underlies all of the current proceedings: that Adnan is innocent and lost 23 years of his life serving time for a crime he did not commit.”

Where is Adnan Syed now? The Serial podcast subject has had his murder conviction reinstated by a Maryland appellate court on March 28, 2023. In a 2-1 ruling, the court said a lower court had violated the rights of the victim’s brother, Young Lee, to attend a key September hearing when a judge vacated Adnan’s conviction, leading to his release. “Because the circuit court violated Mr. Lee’s right to notice of, and his right to attend, the hearing on the State’s motion to vacate … this Court has the power and obligation to remedy those violations, as long we can do so without violating Mr. Syed’s right to be free from double jeopardy,” the court’s opinion said, per CNN. “We remand for a new, legally compliant, and transparent hearing on the motion to vacate, where Mr. Lee is given notice of the hearing that is sufficient to allow him to attend in person, evidence supporting the motion to vacate is presented, and the court states its reasons in support of its decision,” it added.

Adnan’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender and director of the Innocence Project Clinic, Erica Suter, told the press that he doesn’t believe his client will return to jail. “There is no basis for re-traumatizing Adnan by returning him to the status of a convicted felon. For the time being, Adnan remains a free man,” he said in a statement provided to CNN by the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. “We remain optimistic that justice will be done. We intend to seek review in Maryland’s highest court, the Supreme Court of Maryland, and will continue to fight until Adnan’s convictions are fully vacated.”

Adnan was initially released because Baltimore judge Melissa Phinn overturned his murder conviction on September 20, 2022. Prosecutors discovered undisclosed evidence implicating two other suspects; Adnan was released from jail and placed in home detention. The State had 30 days to decide whether it would pursue a new trial or drop the charges against Adnan, the latter of which they have now done. On October 11, 2022, the Maryland Office of the Public Defender said in a statement that the state’s attorney dropped the charges against Adnan because of the results of DNA testing “that excluded Mr. Syed from the DNA recovered from the evidence.”

“The State lacks confidence in the integrity of the conviction,” Koenig told the New York Times before Adnan’s exoneration, that these two people were known to detectives at the time of the crime but that information was never handed over to his defense. “The most damning thing is that a couple of people had told the prosecutor’s office at the time that one of the suspects had a motive to kill Hae, and even had threatened to do so,” she said. “And that information was never told to the defense. That alone—not handing over important evidence—could be grounds to overturn a murder conviction.” She goes on to explain that these two suspects had a history of violence against women.

Serial season one investigates the murder of Hae Min Lee and Adnan Syed, the man at the time who was accused of her murder. In 1999, high school senior Hae disappeared after school in Baltimore County, Maryland and her body was found in Leakin Park a month later. Then 17-year-old Adnan, Hae’s ex-boyfriend, was charged with premeditated murder, kidnapping, robbery and false imprisonment. He was sentenced to life a mere year later. It was argued that Adnan became enraged when Hae broke up with him and started dating another guy, leading to Hae’s strangulation death and the burial of her body in a Baltimore city park. But Adnan has always maintained his innocence and the evidence used at trial was questionable, as Serial illuminated.

The case against Adnan was largely based on inconsistent testimony from his friend Jay, who claimed he helped Adnan bury Hae’s body. Other than that, prosecutors leaned heavily on cellphone location data which has since been found to be unreliable. This was 1999 after all. “Mr. Syed’s conviction was built on a flawed investigation,” Adnan’s attorney Erica Suter said in court ahead of his release. “This was true in 1999 when he was a 17-year-old child. It remains true today.” Outside the court, Suter criticized prosecutors for withholding evidence that could have proven Adnan’s innocence for decades. “If that evidence had been disclosed, perhaps Adnan would not have missed his high school graduation, or his pre-med plans, or 23 years of birthdays, holidays, family gatherings, community events and everyday moments of joy,” she told The Baltimore Sun outside the courtroom. Hae’s brother said he was “not against the investigation”, that he believes in the justice system, but had been blindsided by prosecutors. “Every day when I think it’s over… or it’s ended, it always comes back. It’s killing me,” he said. “This is not a podcast for me. This is real life – a never-ending nightmare for 20-plus years.”

Serial wrapped eight years ago but in light of Adnan’s release, a new once-off, 16-minute-long episode dropped. In it, Koenig reflects on what the decision to release Adnan means to the larger failures of the justice system. “There was a lot of talk about fairness. But most of what the State put in that motion to vacate all the actual evidence was either known or knowable to cops and prosecutors back in 1999,” she said. “So even on a day when the government publicly recognizes its own mistakes, it’s hard to feel cheered about a triumph of fairness. Because we’ve built a system that takes more than 20 years to self-correct. And that’s just this one case.”

Ronee Gad
Chief Legal Officer
Answer # 4 #

BALTIMORE -- In a decision released Tuesday, the Appellate Court of Maryland ruled to reinstate the original convictions and sentence for Adnan Syed.

Syed, whose case gained national attention when it was featured on the podcast "Serial," was released from prison in September of 2022 after serving more than 20 years for the murder of his Woodlawn High School classmate and ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee.

Lee was killed in 1999.

In January, Lee's brother, Young Lee, filed a motion centered around the October 2022 hearing in which the charges were dropped against Syed. The Lee family argued that prosecutors infringed upon Maryland victims' rights and the short notice Lee's brother received ahead of the hearing.

Young Lee said the court "denied him his rights as the representative of a crime victim."

Lee's family attorney, Steve Kelly, said the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office gave his client less than one business day's notice for the hearing, and that he was denied the right to fully participate in the proceeding because he wasn't provided with adequate notice, facts, or evidence.

The decision released Tuesday from Maryland's second highest court granted a new hearing where Young Lee is given notice of the hearing that is sufficient to allow him to attend in person.

According to the Appellate Court of Maryland, the court can't send Syed immediately back to prison. All sides have 60 days to assess how to proceed.

The decision by the appeals court said Lee's right to be notified and/or his rights to attend the hearing on the State's motion to vacate was in violation of CP § 8-301.1(d).

"Therefore, we vacate the circuit court's order vacating Mr. Syed's convictions and sentence, which results in the reinstatement of the original convictions and sentence," the appeals court said in the ruling. "We remand for a new, legally compliant, transparent hearing on the motion to vacate, where Mr. Lee is given notice of the hearing that is sufficient to allow him to attend in person, evidence supporting the motion to vacate is presented, and the court states its reasons in support of its decision."

Rabia Chaudry, Syed's friend and advocate, said in response: "We stand by the integrity of the evidence that exonerated Adnan, and urge the Baltimore Police and States Attorney's office to find the source of the DNA on the victims shoes and find Hae Min Lee's actual killer."

Erica Suter, Syed's attorney and the Director of the Innocence Project Clinic at the University of Baltimore Law School, said in a statement to WJZ:

Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore City's former top prosecutor, weighed in on the reinstatement of Syed's conviction Tuesday.

"This decision sets a dangerous precedent over a prosecutor's ability to reverse an injustice," Mosby said. "We notified the victim's family in line with Maryland law and best practices, and they attended virtually and spoke. To now send this case back to court prolongs the pain for the Lee family, and leaves a cloud hanging over a man who deserves to be free, Adnan Syed."

The office of Baltimore City State's Attorney Ivan Bates is in the process of conducting a review of the decision, SAO spokesman James Bentley said.

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