A Court Reinstated Adnan Syed’s Conviction Just Days Before HBO’s Docuseries Premieres

In a ruling Friday afternoon, a Maryland court reinstated Adnan Syed’s murder conviction. Syed’s case drew national attention after being the subject of the Serial podcast’s first season, and the decision comes two days before HBO is set to air a documentary on the controversy surrounding his conviction.

Syed was convicted in 2000 of murdering Hae Min Lee, his ex-girlfriend, and sentenced to life in prison. He pleaded not guilty and has maintained his innocence ever since. Although the incident attracted little attention beyond local media at the time, it became a national sensation in 2014, when the podcast Serial devoted its first season to probing the nuances of the case. Some locals and people involved with the case believe that Syed is innocent, and a good amount of Serial focused on the exploring the question of his guilt and the adequacy of his legal defense.

In 2016, Judge Martin Welch vacated Syed’s sentence and ordered a new trial, in large part due to questions about the reliability of cell tower data used to secure his conviction. That opinion was stayed so that the government could appeal, but in March 2018, an appeals court upheld Welch’s ruling and ordered that Syed be given a new trial.

But in a narrow 4-3 ruling on Friday, the Maryland Court of Appeals reversed that decision, and determined that Syed is not deserving of a new trial.

More to come…

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