Maryland Court of Appeals reinstates Adnan Syed’s murder conviction

Posted at 2:39 PM, March 28, 2023 and last updated 9:34 AM, March 30, 2023

By: Ryan Dickstein

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WMAR) — Maryland’s Court of Appeals has reinstated Adnan Syed‘s murder conviction.

The court released its opinion Tuesday.

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, in violation of CP § 8-301.1(d), 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. We can do that, and accordingly, we vacate the circuit court’s order vacating Mr. Syed’s convictions, which results in thereinstatement of the original convictions and sentence. 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.

Back in September a Baltimore City Circuit Court judge threw out Syed’s life sentence for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, at the request of former Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

WATCH: ‘Serial’ Podcast Murder Case: Lee Family Attorney Speaks to Court TV

The following month Mosby declined to refile charges citing lack of evidence, making Syed a free man.

Adnan Syded leaves a courthouse

Adnan Syed, center right, leaves the courthouse after the hearing, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Baltimore. A Baltimore judge on Monday ordered the release of Syed after overturning his conviction for the 1999 murder of high school student Hae Min Lee — a case that was chronicled in the hit podcast “Serial,” a true-crime series that transfixed listeners and revolutionized the genre. (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

Young Lee, the victim’s brother, claimed the hasty decision violated his rights.

Lee, who lives in California, said the judge overseeing the case would not allow time for him to appear at the hearing in person.

READ MORE: ‘Serial’ case: Adnan Syed released, conviction tossed

His lawyers say Mosby’s office gave only one business-day’s notice, leaving Lee no chance to properly review and challenge the state’s new evidence.

Syed’s defenders argued Mosby’s decision made the case moot and therefore no appeal should be heard.

The Maryland Attorney General’s Office sided with Lee’s attorneys, calling the judge’s decision “legally defective.”

Both sides now have 60 days to decide on how to proceed.

“We will exercise our discretion to stay the effective date of the mandate for 60 days from the issuance of this opinion. That gives the parties time to assess how to proceed in response to this Court’s decision.”

This story was originally published March 28, 2023 by WMAR in Baltimore, an E.W. Scripps Company.