The nightmare is not over for Adnan Syed. His release after 23 years in prison and the overturning of his murder conviction seemed like the latest chapter in his case. A case that led to the successful serial podcast, that revolutionized the genre true crime and the creation of audios in the United States. However, the Maryland Court of Appeals has heard an appeal from the relatives of the victim, the young woman murdered in 1999 at the age of 17 when she was Adnan’s girlfriend. The annulment is annulled and, therefore, the sentence is restored. The case will go back to court.
By virtue of the 87-page ruling published this Tuesday, Syed is again legally guilty of murder and is sentenced to life in prison, although he will not have to return immediately to prison, as the sentence does not take effect until after 60 days. By a majority of two votes to one, the court has ruled that the Baltimore (Maryland) judge who decided last September to annul Syed’s conviction and release him had not notified the victim’s family sufficiently in advance when she scheduled that view.
“The court failed to provide Mr. Lee with the rights that should be accorded to a victim or a victim’s representative under applicable constitutional provisions and Maryland law. Accordingly, we will vacate the circuit court’s judgment and return it for further proceedings in accordance with this judgment,” the judges say.
Maryland law gives victims the right to prior notice of such hearings, and that right was violated in the case of Hae Min Lee’s brother, according to the ruling. Syed was convicted of the murder of Lee, his former high school girlfriend, whose body was found in a grave after she disappeared in 1999. The law says that victims of a crime must “be treated by state agents with dignity, respect and sensitivity during all phases of the criminal process”.
Hae Min Lee’s brother was told Friday afternoon that there would be a hearing to review Syed’s sentence on Monday. “An email sent one business day before the hearing on Monday, September 19, 2022 was not sufficient to reasonably allow Mr. Lee, who lived in California, to attend the proceedings, as was his right,” the ruling says. . The particular vote believes that, in these post-pandemic times, this right was satisfied by allowing the brother of the murdered woman to connect to the view via Zoom, but the other two judges believe that it is not enough.
Lee asked for a one-week postponement so he could attend in person, but was denied. “We hold that in the circumstance where, as in this case, the victim of a crime or the victim’s representative conveys to the court their desire to attend an annulment hearing in person, all other persons involved in the case are allows them to attend in person, and there are no compelling reasons forcing the victim to appear remotely, a court that forces the victim to attend the hearing remotely violates the victim’s right to attend the proceeding,” it now says. sentence. “Allowing a victim entitled to attend a court proceeding to attend in person, when requested by the victim and all other persons involved in the hearing to appear in person, is consistent with the constitutional requirement that victims be treated with dignity and respect,” he added.
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Adnan Syed was the protagonist of Serial, he podcast issued in 2014 that kept Americans on their toes for months and cast doubt on the fairness of his imprisonment. Syed, of Pakistani origin, who is now 41 years old, always defended his innocence. His case became popular in 2014, thanks to the journalist Sarah Koenig. In a podcast of 12 chapters, Koenig reviewed the case in detail and cast doubt on the investigation and the validity of the evidence provided at trial. Then there was even a documentary on HBO.
The journalist conducted interviews with the convicted person, friends and acquaintances of himself and the victim, visited the crime scenes and reviewed the details of the investigation. She also examined the figure of her lawyer, later disbarred amid malpractice accusations. He podcast, initially broadcast on public radio, broke download records. Millions of Americans wondered every week if Syed was guilty or innocent. Many were somewhat disappointed with the ending, which was inconclusive, and for this reason they enthusiastically lived the extra chapter from last September.
The Baltimore Prosecutor’s Office requested the annulment of the conviction, alleging that after a year of investigation new information had emerged, that there were two other potential suspects in the murder and that part of the evidence used in the trial was unreliable. Judge Melissa Phinn overturned the life sentence and placed Syed under house arrest while the prosecution decided whether he should re-indict. The prosecutor declined to do so and Syed was released.
Now, the view on the annulment of the sentence will have to be repeated. With the prosecutors on the defendant’s side, it will be very difficult for the sentence not to be annulled again. If there is no new script twist, of course.
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