‘Serial’ Subject Adnan Syed to Be Released From Prison, Conviction Tossed

A Baltimore judge on Monday ordered the release of Adnan Syed after overturning Syed’s conviction for the 1999 murder of Min Lee. Serial.

At the prosecutor’s behest, Circuit Court Judge Melissa Finn ordered Syed’s conviction vacated and approved the release of the now 41-year-old man who has spent more than two decades behind bars.

Finn ruled that the state violated its legal obligation to share exculpatory evidence with Syed’s defense. He ordered her released from custody and placed under house arrest with GPS location monitoring. It also directed the state to decide whether to seek a fresh trial date or dismiss the case within 30 days.

Syed, who has always maintained his innocence, gained widespread attention in 2014 when his first season aired. Serial The focus was on Lee’s murder, and prosecutors cast doubt on some of the evidence, prompting countless dinner-table debates about Syed’s innocence or guilt.

Last week, prosecutors filed a motion saying a lengthy cross-examination with the defense turned up new evidence that could undermine the 2000 conviction of Syed, Lee’s ex-boyfriend.

Syed was serving a life sentence for strangling 18-year-old Lee, whose body was buried in a Baltimore park.

State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s office said in a news release last week that the investigation “revealed unknown and newly developed information about two alternative suspects, as well as unreliable cellphone tower data.” Prosecutors, who declined to release information about the suspects because of the ongoing investigation, said the suspects were known at the time of the original investigation, but had not been properly ruled out or presented with a defense. has been.

Prosecutors said they were not insisting Syed was innocent, but lacked “confidence in the integrity of the sentence” and recommended he be released on his own recognizance or bail. The state’s attorney’s office said the motion, if granted, would effectively put Syed on a new trial, vacating his convictions while the case is active.

Syed was led into a crowded courtroom in handcuffs on Monday. Dressed in a white shirt with a tie, he sat next to his lawyer. His mother and other family members were in the room, as was Mosby.

In 2016, a lower court ordered a retrial for Syed on the grounds that his attorney, Cristina Gutierrez, who died in 2004, did not contact an alibi witness and provided ineffective counsel.

But after a series of appeals, Maryland’s highest court denied a new trial in a 4-3 vote in 2019. The appeals court agreed with a lower court that Syed’s legal counsel was deficient in failing to cross-examine the alibi witness, but disagreed that the failure prejudiced the trial. The court said Syed abandoned his ineffective counsel claim.

The US Supreme Court declined to review Syed’s case in 2019.

The true crime series was the brainchild of longtime radio producer and ex. Baltimore Sun Reporter Sarah Koenig, who spent more than a year digging into Syed’s case and reported her findings in near-real-time in hour-long segments. The 12-episode podcast won a Peabody Award and was game-changing in popularizing podcasts for a wider audience.

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