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Adnan Syed released after judge revokes murder conviction

Maryland Court of Appeals Upholds Decision to Overturn Murder Conviction of 'Serial' Subject Adnan Syed
Escorting officials serial podcast subject Adnan Syed of the courthouse on Feb. 3, 2016, after the completion of the first day of hearings for a new trial in Baltimore. | Photo by Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Adnan Syed was set free on Monday after more than 20 years in prison for conviction for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in a case that sparked intense interest after it was documented in the podcast serial. The New York Times reports Baltimore City Circuit Judge Melissa M. Phinn Overturned Adnan Syed Murder Conviction After Prosecutors submitted documents question the trial and the evidence presented, without saying that they believe he is innocent.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Judge ordered Syed to remain unchained in court and on GPS monitoring pending another trial, while prosecutors have 30 days to determine whether to try him again or drop charges. In her ruling, Phinn wrote, “the state has proved a Brady violation,” referring to a… 1963 Supreme Court decision that prosecutors are required to turn over to the defense all evidence that could be beneficial to the accused.

In their motion to leave, prosecutors specifically questioned cell phone records used to locate Syed near the site of Lee’s funeral, which was used to testify to the testimony of state witness Jay Wilds about his activities with Syed on the day of the murder. As they wrote, the state’s case relied “on billing location information provided by ATT to explain the whereabouts of the defendant’s cell phone.”

However, a note to the administration specifically stated that incoming call information “would not be considered reliable location information” as the signal is sent to multiple towers in an attempt to locate the target device. An expert quoted by them said that with the TDMA technology used by AT&T in 1999, “it is possible that an incoming call can be picked up at the last recorded tower/sector and not the current one when the signal crosses multiple towers within an area is being sent.”

Page 15 of Syed - Motion to Leave - 9/14/2022

Contributed to DocumentCloud by The Verge (Vox.com) • View document or read text

The judge rejected a request to delay the decision from a lawyer representing Lee’s family, who said they had not been sufficiently informed of the decision.

Prosecutors said the state has known since 1999 of two “alternative suspects” who may be guilty of the crime, who have not been disclosed to its defense, including an unnamed serial rapist who has since been convicted of several assaults. Prosecutors also said one of the suspects had threatened Lee before she was killed, saying they would “make her disappear”. The Time reports that the prosecution’s investigation revealed that Ms. Lee was discovered right behind a house owned by a relative of one of the suspects.

The serial Podcast Twitter account tweeted that the original presenter, Sarah Koenig, was in the courthouse today and that a new episode will be released on Tuesday.

Update Sept 19, 7:36 PM ET: Added information from the prosecutors’ motion to evict and the document yourself.

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