Adnan Syed case update: Serial podcast’s subject walks out of court to cheers as sentence is vacated

Adnan Syed gets new trial

Adnan Syed, the subject of the hit podcast series Serial, walked out of court to cheers after a Maryland judge overturned his murder conviction and ordered his release after over 23 years behind bars.

Baltimore City Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn vacated the 41-year-old’s conviction and granted him a new trial on Monday.

The quashing of his conviction came after prosecutors said that an almost year-long investigation had cast doubts about the validity of cellphone tower data and uncovered new information about the possible involvement of two alternate unnamed suspects.

Officials now have 30 days to decide whether they will fully drop the charges against Mr Syed. There’s reason to believe they will.

In the meantime, Mr Syed will remain on home detention with a GPS bracelet monitoring his movements.

Mr Syed was convicted in 2000 of first-degree murder, robbery, kidnapping and imprisonment of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee.

Lee, 18, vanished after leaving her high school on 13 January 1999. Her strangled body was found in a shallow grave in a Baltimore park around a month later. Mr Syed has always maintained his innocence.

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Serial releases new episode about Adan Syed’s release

Serial, the hit podcast that propelled the case to international attention and cast doubts on Adnan Syed’s conviction, has released a new episode following his release.

The episode titled “Adnan is out” chronicles what led the prosecutor’s office to call for his conviction to be quashed.

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ICYMI: How one podcast cast doubt on Adnan Syed’s murder conviction

As Adnan Syed’s conviction is overturned, Clémence Michallon remembers the podcast that transformed a genre.

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ICYMI: Timeline of Adnan Syed’s legal battle

More than two decades on from his arrest for the murder of his former girlfriend, Adnan Syed has finally walked free from prison.

Now, prosecutors have 30 days to decide whether to drop the charges or to retry Syed.

Rachel Sharp reports on the case that has rumbled on for more than two decades:

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‘Leftovers at home never tasted so good’

After 23 years in prison, Adnan Syed seems to be enjoying some of the simpler things after his high-profile 1999 murder coniviction was vacated.

Rabia Chaudry, a lawyer and friend of the Syed family, posted a video on Monday afternoon showing the 41-year-old enjoying some leftover dumplings.

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The world reacts to the Adnan Syed news

A judge has overturned the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, whose legal case was the subject of the hit podcast series Serial. On Monday 19 September, the 41-year-old was released after 23 years behind bars. Syed was convicted in 2000 of first-degree murder, robbery, kidnapping and the imprisonment of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. Prosecutors had recently requested Syed’s release on the basis that “the state no longer has confidence in the integrity of the conviction”, after an investigation cast doubts about the validity of cellphone tower data and uncovered two alternate unnamed suspects. Syed has always maintained his innocence.

Celebrities who were fans of the podcast or had other ties to the case reacted to the bombshell news on Twitter.

“Case is overturned!!! Adnan Syed is once again presumed innocent in the eyes of the law”, wrote the Pretty in Pink actor Jon Cryer. Amanda Whiting with the full report.

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Voices: Adnan Syed’s conviction should have been thrown out a long time ago

When it comes to the Adnan Syed case, as Clémence Michallon writes in her latest Voices column, not guilty was “the only possible conclusion in 2014, and it remains the only possible conclusion now, eight years later,” given all the holes in the original prosecution.

Read her full piece below.

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Adnan Syed speaks after release from prison

Adnan Syed said he “can’t believe it’s real” as he walked out of court a free man after a Baltimore judge overturned his conviction for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee.

Baltimore City Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn vacated the 41-year-old’s conviction “in the interest of justice” on Monday and granted him a new trial, marking the latest dramatic twist in a case that has captured attention across the globe.

Syed’s shackles were removed and the judge ordered him to be released under home detention while the investigation continues into Lee’s murder.

Minutes later, he was met by a roar of cheers as he walked down the steps of the courthouse and got into a waiting vehicle. Syed smiled and flashed the peace sign at his supporters but declined to make any comments.

Rachel Sharp has more on what the Maryland man said after 23 years in prison.

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Alternate suspects emerge in Adnan Syed case

Adnan Syed walked out of court a free man on Monday, after an almost year-long investigation uncovered new evidence about the possible involvement of two alternative suspects in the 1999 slaying of student Hae Min Lee.

Here’s what we know about the other suspects so far.

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The Supreme Court decision that may deny Adnan Syed legal recourse

One of the key claims used in vacating Adnan Syed’s murder conviction is that prosecutors witheld valuable evidence from his defence, in what’s known as a Brady violation.

You would think, then, that if this could be shown, Mr Syed could sue prosecutors for denying him his full legal rights and 23 years of his life as a result.

Instead, because of an obscure 1976 Supreme Court case called Imbler v Pachtman, prosecutors can’t be sued for deliberately witholding evidence.

At the time, the high court noted that such a ruling would deny the “genuinely wronged” legal remedy, but that this result was worth it because it is “better to leave unredressed the wrongs done by dishonest officers than to subject those who try to do their duty to the constant dread of retalation.” Many government officials enjoy wide immunity from lawsuits.

“It’s one of the most egregious, harmful state abuses of power imaginable, utterly without civil remedy,” civil rights lawyer Hannah Marie noted on Twitter on Monday.

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What’s next for Adnan Syed?

First, Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby, whose office sought to have Mr Syed’s conviction vacated in the first place, must decide whether to press new charges.

Subsequent investigations have revealed evidence of other suspects wasn’t shared with Mr Syed’s defence, prosecutors said.

That evidence, in addition to ongoing DNA testing on evidentiary materials in the case, will likely weigh on Ms Mosby’s decision.

In the meantime, Mr Syed will remain on home detention with a GPS bracelet monitoring his movements. The Maryland Attorney General’s Office says it stands by its decision to fight Mr Syed’s appeals over the years, and accused Ms Mosby’s effort to vacate the conviction of containing “serious problems.” It also denied committing a so-called Brady Violation, which occurs when officials fail to turn over potentially exculpatory evidence to those accused of crimes. “Neither State’s Attorney Mosby nor anyone from her office bothered to consult with either the Assistant State’s Attorney who prosecuted the case or with anyone in my office regarding these alleged violations,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh told the Baltimore Sun in a statement. “The file in this case was made available on several occasions to the defense.”

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