Adnan Syed asks court to reconsider reinstating his murder conviction

Posted at 1:22 PM, April 26, 2023 and last updated 1:22 PM, April 26, 2023

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Attorneys for Adnan Syed are asking the Appellate Court of Maryland to reconsider a ruling last month that reinstated his murder conviction.

Syed’s defense team argues the court’s decision was based on a procedural error that would not have impacted the outcome of a hearing before a lower court.

Adnan Syed, center, leaves the Elijah E. Cummings Courthouse

Adnan Syed, center, leaves the Elijah E. Cummings Courthouse, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Baltimore. A judge has ordered the release of Syed after overturning his conviction for a 1999 murder that was chronicled in the hit podcast “Serial.” (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

The hearing in question was held back in September in Baltimore City Circuit Court at the request of then City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

Her office asked a judge there to vacate Syed’s conviction and sentence based on newly uncovered evidence which they say put his guilt into doubt.

That judge approved Mosby’s request and freed Syed.

He’d been sentenced to life in prison for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee.

Her brother, Young Lee, claims to have been given only one business day’s notice about the hearing.

He wanted to attend in person, but was unable to make it due to living in California.

The City judge declined Lee’s request to delay the hearing so he could be there in person, instead allowing him to appear on Zoom.

RELATED: Prosecutors drop charges against Adnan Syed in ‘Serial’ case

Lee filed an appeal, claiming his rights were violated by the lack of notice and being denied a chance to show in person.

The Appellate Court for those reasons sided with Lee, ordering a new vacatur hearing in City Circuit Court.

In the meantime the appellate judges said Syed’s conviction and sentence would have to be reinstated. He was not however ordered back to jail.

Hae Min Lee

Hae Min Lee (Family Photo)

“With rare exception, litigants must show that any error impacted the case outcome before they are entitled to reversal. Acknowledging that the outcome would not have been different does not diminish the importance of victims’ rights,” explained Brian Zavin, OPD’s Appellate Division Chief and Co-Counsel for Mr. Syed on the appeal.

“Even a criminal defendant generally is not entitled to reversal of a conviction for the violation of their constitutional rights if the appellate court finds that the result would have been the same despite the error. Likewise, here, any violation of a right to appear in person that Mr. Lee possessed would not have changed the outcome of the vacatur proceeding.”

This story was originally published April 26 by WMAR in Baltimore, an E.W. Scripps Company.