Adnan Syed, who sparked the popular podcast "Serial," was released from his jail sentences on Monday.
After prosecutors questioned the validity of the evidence used against him during trial and the identification of other possibilities, Judge Melissa Phinn of the Baltimore Circuit Court reversed Syed's murder conviction in the 1999 killing of Hae Min Lee.
According to Phinn, Syed was placed on home detention with a GPS monitor while the Baltimore State's Attorney's office voted whether or not to drop charges against him or retry him for the death of his ex-girlfriend. The prosecution has 30 days to decide.
Syed, dressed in a white shirt and a black tie, grinned as he walked down the steps of the courthouse to the cheering of his friends, family, and supporters. He avoided speaking to the media as he left the court, but his lawyer, Erica Suter, recalls hearing Phinn's testimony.
According to the prosecution, authorities knew of at least one other suspect before Suter's trial, but kept it hidden from his defense, in violation of a legal principle known as the Brady rule. This information was revealed during a yearlong investigation conducted alongside Suter.
Although Mosby would not say whether or not she would drop the case on Monday, she acknowledged that a substantial portion of the evidence used in the initial trial was no longer relevant. Regardless of the conclusion, Mosby claimed that it demonstrates her organization's dedication to a fair justice system.
Justice is always worth the effort invested in pursuing it, as I stated four months after the death of Freddie Gray and again four months before my term ends.
According to Phinn's decision, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, who represented the state in several appeals, issued a statement saying that there was no Brady violation and that Mosby's office's motion had "other significant deficiencies."
Frosh stated, "With regard to these alleged violations, neither State's Attorney Mosby nor anyone from her office took the time to check with either the Assistant State's Attorney who prosecuted the case or with anyone in my office." The defense was given several opportunities to view the file in this instance.
Lee, 18, was murdered after being strangled and was interred in a secret tomb in Leakin Park. Authorities at the time claimed that they believed Syed, her ex-boyfriend, and had a scuffle in the car before he killed her. At the time, the well-known Woodlawn High School honors student couldn't believe it when Lee broke up with him. He was imprisoned when he was 17 and has been there ever since.
Syed, 41, has maintained his innocence. Suter claimed in court that her client was innocent and criticized the prosecution for concealing evidence that would have demonstrated this for years.
Following the trial, Adnan might have missed his high school graduation, his desire to pursue a medical career, or 23 years of birthdays, holidays, family reunions, and ordinary moments of joy.
Syed remained calm while his loved ones cried, hugged, and gasped as Phinn delivered the verdict in court. The public gallery exploded when the judge decided to postpone the hearing.
After a lawyer for Lee's relatives requested a postponement, Phinn denied the request, but halted the hearing for 30 minutes in order to allow Lee's brother to have a quiet moment and view the hearing via video.
Young Lee said he felt misled and blindsided by the prosecution's decision to overturn Syed's conviction when he was given the chance to speak before the attorneys. He began to cry as he addressed the judge.
Young Lee informed Phinn, "This is real life.
Lee expressed respect for the criminal justice system but spoke also of the ongoing sorrow of his family members. He stated that while he does not oppose further study, Syed's conviction should remain.
Every day, just when I think it's over, it comes back, he continued. "I'm dying from it."
Becky Feldman, an assistant state's attorney, stated in court that the prosecution's choice of how to handle Syed's case is contingent on an ongoing investigation centered on the potential suspects. Feldman promised that her office would devote all of its resources to the investigation, which Baltimore police have restarted following Lee's killing.
"We must make sure we keep the right person accountable," says Feldman, the head of the office's Sentencing Review Unit.
Syed's initial trial in 1999 was a mistrial. In 2000, a jury convicted him guilty of murder. At sentencing, the judge sentenced him to life in prison plus 30 years in prison.
Prosecutors have tried to rebut Syed's conviction in the past, but they now believe that Syed may not be Lee's murderer. According to the prosecution's plea to reverse Lee's conviction, two other persons may have killed Lee.
One of the accused said she would make her disappear. He would assass her, according to the prosecution.
According to the prosecution, the other suspects were not disclosed to Syed's defense prior to trial, therefore his lawyers were unable to use this evidence to prove his innocence before the jury.
According to the state's motion, police discovered Lee's automobile near one of the other suspects' homes.
Prosecutors claim that cellphone location data, which has now been found to be incorrect, played a role in Syed's conviction. Additionally, they highlighted how Jay Wilds, his co-defendant, self-defended himself in his deposition.
Suter said in court that "Mr. Syed's conviction was founded on a faulty investigation." This was correct in 1999, when he was just 17 years old. It still applies today.
Prosecutors said they aren't ready to exonerate Syed despite the new information.
After "Serial," a podcast that was aired in 2014, raised further doubts over Lee's death, Syed's conviction became public throughout the world. Since then, books, podcasts, and television programs have been produced related to his legal experiences, which have resulted in new court papers being filed in his case.
The Supreme Court has declined to hear his case in all of his appeals.
Bis this spring, nothing much has changed.
Suter, a public defender and the director of the University of Baltimore School of Law's Innocence Project clinic, had been secretly coordinating with Mosby's office in the hope of lowering Syed's sentence, under a recent state legislation that allows people who have been convicted of crimes before the age of 18 to request that the court reduce their sentence.
As they investigated the case, prosecutions decided to demand additional DNA testing for items collected as evidence of Lee's murder.
Phinn placed the tests in March, but according to court records, the results are still unclear.
Mosby said following the hearing that the agency was waiting the findings before deciding whether or not to drop Syed's accusations.
Adnan Syed, who was featured on the reality podcast "Serial," was released from prison on Monday after serving 23 years. The judge who overturned his conviction found flaws in the way prosecutions had provided evidence to defense attorneys long ago.
Mr. Syed, 41, was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of murdering his high school classmate and ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, who was discovered dead in a Baltimore park in 1999.
Adnan Syed, who was 18 years old when he was found guilty of killing his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, was overturned by a Baltimore judge in 2000. Lee's body was discovered strangled in the city's Leakin Park. Syed, according to judge Melissa Phinn, will be released on house detention.
Adnan Syed was freed from prison after a jury overturned his murder conviction in the popular podcast "Serial." He had served more than 23 years in jail for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, and his murder conviction was overturned by a Baltimore judge on Monday.