Victim's family to appeal Syed's release in '˜Serial' case

  • 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 'úSerial.'Ě

    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 'úSerial.'Ě Associated Press

  • Adnan Syed, center, the man whose legal saga spawned the hit podcast "Serial," exits the Cummings Courthouse a free man after a Baltimore judge overturned his conviction for the 1999 murder of high school student Hae Min Lee, Monday, Sept, 19, 2022, in Baltimore. (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

    Adnan Syed, center, the man whose legal saga spawned the hit podcast "Serial," exits the Cummings Courthouse a free man after a Baltimore judge overturned his conviction for the 1999 murder of high school student Hae Min Lee, Monday, Sept, 19, 2022, in Baltimore. (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP) Associated Press

  • Adnan Syed's mother, Shamim Syed, center right, celebrates with friends outside of the courthouse after a Baltimore judge ordered the release of her son after overturning his conviction, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam /The Baltimore Sun via AP)

    Adnan Syed's mother, Shamim Syed, center right, celebrates with friends outside of the courthouse after a Baltimore judge ordered the release of her son after overturning his conviction, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Baltimore. (Kenneth K. Lam /The Baltimore Sun via AP) Associated Press

  • Adnan Syed, center, leaves the 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 'úSerial.'Ě

    Adnan Syed, center, leaves the 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 'úSerial.'Ě Associated Press

  • Shamim Syed, Adnan Syed's mother, left, celebrates with others outside the Cummings Courthouse, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Baltimore. A judge has ordered the release of Adnan Syed after overturning his conviction for a 1999 murder that was chronicled in the hit podcast 'úSerial.'Ě

    Shamim Syed, Adnan Syed's mother, left, celebrates with others outside the Cummings Courthouse, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Baltimore. A judge has ordered the release of Adnan Syed after overturning his conviction for a 1999 murder that was chronicled in the hit podcast 'úSerial.'Ě Associated Press

  • Shamim Syed, Adnan Syed's mother, celebrates with others outside the Cummings Courthouse, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Baltimore. A judge has ordered the release of Adnan Syed after overturning his conviction for a 1999 murder that was chronicled in the hit podcast 'úSerial.'Ě

    Shamim Syed, Adnan Syed's mother, celebrates with others outside the Cummings Courthouse, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Baltimore. A judge has ordered the release of Adnan Syed after overturning his conviction for a 1999 murder that was chronicled in the hit podcast 'úSerial.'Ě Associated Press

  • State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby discusses the release of Adnan Syed after his conviction was overturned, as Syed's mother, Shamim Syed, right, looks on with another son, standing behind Mosby, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Baltimore. (Amy Davis/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

    State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby discusses the release of Adnan Syed after his conviction was overturned, as Syed's mother, Shamim Syed, right, looks on with another son, standing behind Mosby, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Baltimore. (Amy Davis/The Baltimore Sun via AP) Associated Press

  • 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 'úSerial,'Ě a true-crime series that transfixed listeners and revolutionized the genre.  (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

    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 'úSerial,'Ě a true-crime series that transfixed listeners and revolutionized the genre. (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP) Associated Press

 
 
Updated 9/29/2022 12:37 PM

BALTIMORE -- The family of a young woman who was killed in 1999 will appeal a Baltimore judge's recent decision to overturn the conviction of Adnan Syed, the man imprisoned for decades for Hae Min Lee's death, according to an attorney for the family.

Syed, whose case was examined in the popular true-crime podcast 'úSerial,'Ě was released earlier this month after prosecutors told a judge they had uncovered doubts about the fairness of the investigation. Syed has always maintained that he never killed Lee, his ex-girlfriend.

 

But on Wednesday, Young Lee, the victim's brother, filed a notice of appeal, alleging violations of the family's right to meaningfully participate in the Sept. 19 hearing in which Syed secured his release, according to attorney Steve Kelly. It's the first step in seeking the Maryland Court of Special Appeals' review of the potential violations of victim's rights statutes, Kelly said.

Syed was serving a life sentence after he was convicted of strangling Lee, whose body was found buried in a Baltimore park. He was 17 at the time of her death.

Circuit Court Judge Melissa Phinn's order to release Syed and vacate his murder conviction came after State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby asked the judge to vacate the conviction, saying a lengthy investigation conducted with the defense had uncovered new evidence that could undermine the conviction.

During the hearing, Young Lee spoke to the court via videoconference, saying he felt betrayed by prosecutors since he thought the case was settled.

'úThis is not a podcast for me. This is real life,'Ě he said.

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Prosecutor Becky Feldman told the judge in the hearing that she contacted Young Lee before the motion was filed, and went over the motion with him. A day before the hearing, Young Lee indicated by text message that he would attend virtually, Feldman said. But that evening the Lee family hired Kelly, who filed a motion to postpone the hearing for seven days so Young Lee could attend in person. Phinn denied that motion, but paused the hearing by more than 30 minutes so that Lee, who was at work, could join the call.

Kelly said at the time that prosecutors shut the family out of the legal process, calling it 'úinexcusable'Ě and a violation of Maryland law. The family is interested in the truth and might have supported Syed's release if they had understood the basis, he said.

'úThe family is disappointed with the way that they were treated. They're disappointed with the process. They want more than anybody to have the person who killed Hae Min Lee brought to justice,'Ě Kelly said. 'úIf that is not Mr. Syed then they're open to the possibility of anybody else who actually did it being prosecuted.'Ě

The Office of the Public Defender declined Thursday to comment on the notice of appeal. Syed's case captured the attention of millions in 2014 when the debut season of 'úSerial'Ě focused on Lee's killing and raised doubts about some of the evidence prosecutors had used.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Mosby, who entered office in 2015, has applauded the judge's decision and has said investigators are awaiting the results of 'úDNA analysis'Ě before determining whether to seek a new trial date or throw out the case against Syed and 'úcertify his innocence.'Ě

State's Attorney's Office spokesperson Zy Richardson said in a statement that they empathize with Lee's family, 'úwho believed they had resolution and are now being re-traumatized by the misdeeds of the prior prosecutors,'Ě but they must ensure that the right person is held accountable, news outlets reported.

"We refuse to be distracted from this fundamental obligation and will never give up in our fight for the Lee family,'Ě she said.

Feldman, who led a unit reexamining cases in which juvenile defendants were given life sentences, found notes written by a predecessor describing two phone calls in which people gave them information before Syed's trial about someone with a motive to harm Lee. That information wasn't given to the defense at the time, according prosecutors, an omission that Phinn said violated Syed's rights.

In a new 'úSerial'Ě episode released a day after Syed was freed, host Sarah Koenig noted that most or all of the evidence cited in prosecutors' motion to overturn the conviction was available since 1999. The case against Syed involved 'újust about every chronic problem'Ě in the system, Koenig said, including unreliable witness testimony and evidence that was never shared with Syed's defense team.

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