May 23, 2024


Future Depends on What You Do

Adnan Syed, ‘Serial’ podcast subject, returns to courtroom as Maryland Supreme Court weighs victims’ legal rights

The Maryland Supreme Court listened to arguments Thursday in the decadeslong lawful saga of Adnan Syed above regardless of whether the spouse and children of Hae Min Lee, whose killing is at the center of the circumstance, was supplied plenty of time to take part in the hearing at which a choose vacated his conviction last 12 months.

Syed, 42, served 23 yrs in jail stemming from rates that he killed Lee, his superior college girlfriend. His circumstance bought national focus and has been followed by millions soon after the podcast “Serial” chronicled it in 2014.

At challenge Thursday ended up the reinstatement of Syed’s murder conviction in March soon after a Maryland courtroom said officials unsuccessful to deliver sufficient recognize for Lee’s family to go to the listening to, as very well as the degree to which victims and their households are ready to participate in this kind of proceedings.

Syed’s attorneys have said his freedom could be at stake. 

“It is Adnan whose liberty is at stake. The loss of life of Hae Min Lee and the loss endured by her family is unquestionably tragic,” his lawyer Erica Suter said in remarks outside the house the court in Annapolis right after the hearing. “So, too, is the incalculable reduction that Adnan and his spouse and children have endured when he spent in excess of fifty percent his existence in prison for a criminal offense he did not dedicate.”

Adnan Syed with his mother Shamim Rahman outside Maryland's Supreme Court in Annapolis on Oct. 5, 2023.
Adnan Syed with his mother, Shamim Rahman, outside the Maryland Supreme Courtroom in Annapolis on Thursday.Susan Walsh / AP

David Sanford, an legal professional for Lee’s brother, Younger Lee, claimed outside the house court Thursday that it was an “important working day for victims’ legal rights.”

“We do not just take a position with respect to Adnan Syed’s underlying guilt or innocence. This is not what currently was about,” he explained. Rather, the hearing was about Younger Lee’s proper “to have discover, to be current and to be read in a prison justice continuing.”

Lee, who life in California, attended past year’s hearing on Zoom. He was notified on a Friday afternoon that it would acquire location the subsequent Monday, and he has argued that did not give him correct recognize to show up at.

His attorneys are asking for a new “vacatur” hearing, which would consist of “reasonable recognize, the appropriate to show up at in man or woman and the appropriate to be listened to on and obstacle the evidence.”

It is not very clear based mostly on the statute no matter if the recognize he was given was enough or not, claimed David Jaros, a professor at the University of Baltimore College of Regulation.

“One point that is crystal clear about the situation is that the statute that gives victims sure legal rights is published pretty improperly, and it is not obvious precisely how it should really use to this style of hearing, as opposed to, say, a sentencing hearing,” Jaros explained. “It’s not crystal clear what the appropriate cure need to be. And it’s not clear what adequate observe is.” 

He stated the courtroom could in essence drive the concern again to the Legislature to revisit the language of the statute.

The courtroom could come across that Lee’s legal rights were violated and that the good cure would be to maintain the listening to that vacated Syed’s conviction again, Jaros explained.

But prosecutors have indicated that there is evidence pointing to other suspects. Syed was launched from jail in October, just after then-Baltimore Town State’s Lawyer Marilyn Mosby explained DNA proof supported his innocence.

“We’ve got no new data coming out. We have no rationale to think that the decide will appear out with a diverse position,” said Jaros, who is also the college director of the university’s Heart for Criminal Justice Reform. But he included that, specified that there is a new state’s legal professional for Baltimore this year, “the risk does exist that the courtroom could come out a distinctive way, in which case Mr. Syed would have to go back to jail.”

Justice Brynja Booth questioned Thursday whether Younger Lee should rather be inquiring the condition Common Assembly to develop victims’ rights.

“Why is not this a query for the Common Assembly?” she questioned. “The correct that you are speaking of is not in the simple language of the statute.”

Attorney Ari Rubin, who is also symbolizing Younger Lee, disagreed with that interpretation of the legislation, expressing that “every appropriate that exists for the victim was deprived, which includes notice” and “including the suitable to be read.” He added that Lee was not offered new proof.

Syed’s legal professional argued in advance of a panel of seven justices that Lee’s legal rights were being pleased, as “he was notified” and “he was ready to attend” the listening to by Zoom. 

She also explained that if the state and the circuit court “have agreed that a defendant has been wrongfully incarcerated for 23 ½ years, it is ideal that the court docket go with urgency.”

She concluded that “it is our posture that this circumstance is moot,” for the reason that prosecutors resolved not to demand Syed right after his conviction was vacated, nor would Lee’s existence at the listening to have improved the end result.

Syed, dressed in a mild blue regular Muslim cap and a light-weight blue costume shirt with a darkish striped tie, stood with his arm about his mother’s shoulders as he spoke outdoors the courthouse soon after the listening to.

“We’re hoping that in the finish, we’ll have a chance to establish justice. Not just for Hae’s spouse and children, but for our spouse and children, as nicely,” Syed said.

“We consider incredibly strongly in attempting to discover justice for Hae and her household, and we’re just hoping also that we’re equipped to locate justice for us, also,” he said.

The panel of justices will look at Thursday’s hearing and announce its ruling in the coming months or months.

Daniella Silva documented from New York and Julia Jester from Annapolis, Maryland.