Adnan Syed’s murder conviction is on hold pending the Maryland Supreme Court’s appeal
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Adnan Syed will not return to prison and his murder conviction is on hold while the Maryland Supreme Court decides whether to hear his appeal.
The state’s highest court on Thursday issued an order preventing a lower court from reinstating Syed’s murder conviction.
Syed’s legal battle began more than two decades ago and gained international attention through the hit podcast Serial. He regained his freedom in September by a judge after the Baltimore Attorney’s Office overturned his conviction, saying they reviewed the case and found alternative suspects and unreliable evidence that was used at the trial.
But the victim’s family said they were not given sufficient notice to attend the September judge’s hearing in person, violating their right to be “treated with dignity and respect,” and the state’s Intermediate Court of Appeals agreed. In a 2-1 decision in March that was suspended for 60 days, the judges restored Syed’s conviction and ordered a rerun of the relevant hearing.
As the 60 days drew to a close, Syed’s attorney, Erica Suter, said: asked the Maryland Supreme Court on Wednesday to issue a stay of proceedings to avoid her client’s possible detention while the court decides on an appeal.
Judge Shirley Watts noted in her order, which was approved by a majority of the court’s seven judges, that the victim’s family and the attorney general’s office have agreed to suspend the mandate of the lower court while the Supreme Court considers a hearing of an appeal and while an appeal is pending.
Suter is asking the court to consider several legal questions, including whether former Baltimore District Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s decision last year to dismiss the charges against Syed rendered the family’s court challenge moot.
Syed, who has consistently maintained his innocence, was 17 when his former high school sweetheart and classmate, Hae Min Lee, was found strangled and buried in a makeshift grave in 1999. He was arrested weeks later and eventually convicted of murder in 2000.
In Wednesday’s court filing, Syed’s attorney said he had been employed since December, working as a program officer at Georgetown University’s Prisons and Justice Initiative.
The filing also noted that Syed took care of his elderly parents. His father has dementia and his mother has been diagnosed with leukemia.
“Mr. “Syed’s return means a better quality of life for his loved ones as he can help with the day-to-day care of his parents’ health, transport them to doctor’s appointments and generally be of assistance to them,” the court filing said.