A Maryland appellate court ruled Tuesday to reinstate the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, subject of the hit podcast Serial, after deciding a lower court had violated the victim’s family’s rights.
In a 2-1 decision, the Maryland appellate court ruled that the rights of Young Lee, the brother of the victim, were violated when Baltimore City’s State’s Attorney gave Lee, who lives in California, less than one business day’s notice about the hearing at which Syed’s conviction was overturned.
“Allowing a victim entitled to attend a court proceeding to attend in person, when the victim makes that request and all other persons involved in the hearing appear in person, is consistent with the constitutional requirement that victims be treated with dignity and respect,” the appellate court’s ruling said.
Syed was arrested in 1999 and convicted of murder in 2000 for the killing of his then-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. He was released from prison in September 2022, after a Maryland circuit court judge found that prosecutors in the original trial failed to disclose evidence that could have helped the defense. Prosecutors decided in October to drop all charges against Syed.
Though Syed’s conviction has been reinstated, he will not immediately be taken back into custody.
Erica Suter, an assistant public defender and Syed’s lawyer, said in a statement there was no need to “re-traumatize” Syed and that they will seek review by the Maryland Supreme Court.
“The appeal was not about Adnan’s innocence but about notice and mootness,” Suter said in the statement.
This story will be updated.