Attorneys for Hae Min Lee’s family ask Maryland court for redo
On Thursday, an attorney for the family of Hae Min Lee, the teen whose 1999 death was investigated on the “Serial” podcast, asked an appellate court to redo a hearing that vacated Adnan Syed’s murder conviction and to reinstate Syed’s conviction while the hearing is ongoing.
Syed was convicted of killing the teen and spent more than 20 years in prison before his conviction was overturned in a hearing in September, which led to Syed’s release. Young Lee, Lee’s brother, asked for that hearing to be rescheduled, claiming, among other things, that he didn’t get enough notice to show up in person.
In court documents, Young Lee’s attorneys claim that prosecutors and the circuit court that overturned Syed’s conviction violated the brother’s rights. Young Lee was able to watch the proceedings in September via Zoom. They say that happened because they didn’t give him enough notice, didn’t give the brother a chance to speak up, and didn’t give the family any evidence.
The Lee family’s attorney, David Sanford, told Maryland’s appellate court on Thursday that the circuit court and prosecutors “failed repeatedly” prior to the decision in September to overturn Syed’s conviction.
The attorney stated, “The victim, or the victim’s representative… has a right to be heard.”
Another family lawyer, Steve Kelly, told a panel of three judges that a new hearing would be “in compliance with the law.” Kelly responded, “If a new hearing is granted, do you think Syed’s conviction should be reinstated?” when a judge asked Kelly. Yes, honorable one.”
However, Erica Suter, Syed’s attorney, argued that the appeal should be dismissed because it is pointless, stating that the criminal case against Syed has been dropped and that prosecutors took steps last year to “facilitate” Young Lee’s attendance at the hearing in September.
A black face mask covered Young Lee as he appeared in court on Thursday. Syed, who was seated next to a family member, was also present.
Suter stated at a news conference following Thursday’s hearing, “This court’s decision will neither restore Adnan’s 23-and-a-half lost years nor bring back Hae Min Lee.” However, it can attest to the validity of the lower court’s decision.”
Syed’s attorney continued, “It is time, it is 23 years past time to let Adnan Syed live as a free man.” We all anticipate the verdict from the court.”
Also after the hearing on Thursday, the Lee family’s attorney, Sanford, told reporters that their priority was to make sure the proceedings were fair and that the victim’s family had a chance to participate.
“We are not waging a campaign to re-incarcerate Adnan Syed. This has nothing to do with that. “Respecting victims and their representatives in this extremely troubling process is the focus of this,” Sanford stated.
Sanford stated that a decision in the case is anticipated by summer.