Updated: Mar 29
Adnan is home #freeish under home confinement! After 23 years Adnan Syed walked out of the Baltimore Courthouse Monday afternoon by the request of the State's Attorney Office. Yes, you read that correctly, the State's Attorney's Office submitted a motion to the courts to vacate the conviction of Adnan Syed. How right?
March 28, 2023 update:
The appellate court has granted the motion of the Lee family to allows ample time to appear in person. The courts does not wish to infringe on Adnan's overturned conviction. He will not be returned to custody and shall not have his conviction returned long.
For legality issues and the victim's family rights being violated this is the process to fulfill the request of the Lee family. Read more below:
December 26, 2022 update:
In its first occurrence ever the Appellate Courts of Maryland former Courts of Special Appeals will hear oral arguments to determine if the proceedings the lead up to Adnan's conviction being overturned in September were done properly. The brother of Hae Min Lee feels he didn't receive ample notification of the hearing to vacate Adnan's conviction. His attorney was present and presented a motion to postpone the hearing until the family member can appear in person. Prior to this date the family member had previously agreed to attend via zoom. For some reason the State of Maryland has agreed to listen to this motion, in my opinion is it a continued show of wasting taxpayers dollars as well as an abuse of power. With the assistance of the family members attorney the motion was presented and granted. Hearing date is set for February 2nd, 2023.
On a much brighter and uplifting side Adnan is getting his blessings as a free man with real life experiences. He has been hired as a Program Associate for Georgetown University's Prison and Justice Initiative. This will be Adnan's first 9 to 5 office job. I hope that Adnan's presence and the real life experiences he brings will increase the awareness of racial justice and equality on campus.
October 11, 2022 update:
ADNAN IS FREE
The State's Attorney Office headed by Marilyn Mosby applauded her team and thanked them for the hard work put in under Becky Feldman's leadership. Their Special Review Unit is Winning for all these families that have suffered under harsh systemically racist foundations practiced in our judicial system. Thank you! ADNAN IS FREE....
For Hae Min Lee's family, I will continue to pray to our creator that you will get your justice.
WBFF Fox 45 Baltimore
In October 2021 Maryland General Assembly passed the Juvenile Restoration Act, SB0494, which is designed to abolish the sentence of Juvenile Life Without Parole and permit a person who was convicted of a crime committed while the person was a minor to file a motion for a sentence reduction. This bill supports the belief that no child is beyond the hope of redemption. This bill was presented to the current Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan in April 2021 and he vetoed the bill. The General Assembly overrode that veto and the bill was passed. Adnan had been incarcerated for 23 years and his case would get the opportunity to be reviewed.
In December 2020 Maryland's States Attorney hired former public Defender Becky Feldman to hold the Interim position of Strategic Policy and Planning Director where she works to implement and devise criminal justice reform policies. As Deputy Public
Defender Feldman is helped coordinate the release of elderly Maryland Prisoners under the Unger Ruling. In 2012 Unger Vs Maryland case ruled that instructions provided by Maryland judges to juries was structurally flawed and fundamentally unfair. All 237 Unger prisoners were sentenced to life with the possibility of parole, but none had been paroled even though the Maryland Parole Commission had recommended many for parole, some up to three or four times.
In 1995, Governor Paris Glendening, publicly announced that “life means life,” and thereafter rejected all of the recommendations by his Parole Commission that lifers be paroled. Governor Martin O’Malley, the other democratic governor, continued this no-parole policy during his two terms. This was the reason there were so many in the Unger group.
"Unger files: The result of three interrelated factors: (1) the pervasive racism in Maryland during this period; (2) discrimination in the criminal justice system, from charging decisions to pre-trial dispositions (including through plea bargaining) through jury selection at trials; and (3) the invitation by judges to these juries to create their own legal rules.
We address these factors in this order.
A. There Was Pervasive Racism in Maryland
B. Racism in the Criminal Justice System Is a National Problem
C. There Was Clear Race Discrimination in the Selection of Jurors in Criminal Trials in Maryland in the 1960s and 1970s, When Almost All in the Unger Group Were Tried and Convicted.
D. A Race-Based Presidential Ad Campaign in 1988 Affected the Decisions of Maryland Governors to Effectively End Parole for Life Sentenced Prisoners in Maryland, Including Those in the Unger Group."
As of 2018, 200 Prisoners have been released due to the Unger Ruling.
With Feldman's hire and the work of the Sentencing Review Unit many prisoners are getting a 2nd chance with the passing of SB0494. The Sentencing Review Unit is in recognition that over time, laws and our prosecution practices have evolved, that racial disparities still exist in the criminal justice context, and that we have a serious mass incarceration problem. We also have a more evolved understanding of juvenile behavior, drug addiction and poverty. The SRU reviews the convictions and sentences of persons who have served lengthy periods of incarceration to determine whether they can be safely released back into our community. To date 41 prisoners have been released from the review of former convictions.
On September 18, 2022, I arrived at the Baltimore City Circuit Courts 11 minutes after 2pm to witness and see Adnan walk free. I felt compelled to be there as I have been following his case since listening to the Serial Podcast in 2017. From there I was able to be in contact with his forever advocate of Adnan's freedom Rabia Chaudry to stay in the loop on court updates in 2019.Everyone needs a Rabia in their corner. Rabia has been there for Adnan and his family since 1999. As I approached room 556 I was instructed it was full and the overflow room was down the hall room 236. After verifying my cell phone was completed turned off I was to enter the courtroom to listen in. This room was full as well with just a few seats available for stragglers like me.
Court was already in session as a gentleman was addressing the Judge. After listening in I realized this is the attorney for the Lee family. 30 minutes before trial a motion was submitted to postpone the motion to vacate for 7 days so the family member of Hae Lee can be present. The family member resides in California and was requesting ample time to arrive to Baltimore flying across county. The Judge went through a series of questions trying to understand why the family member changed their minds to not be present via zoom and to be in person. After hearing the lawyer's argument Judge Melissa Phinn denied the motion and gave the attorney the opportunity to contact his client to see if they want to participate in the zoom they originally agreed upon last Friday. The family member agreed and requested 30 minutes to get home from work, a 30 minutes recess was granted. There was a mad scurry to leave the courtroom so guests could turn on their phones and give updates. I went into the hallway to do the same not expecting to see Adnan being escorted to the elevator. As I am memorized by actually seeing Adnan in person, I hear a loud voice yell out STOP, HAND ME THAT PHONE, as one of the court bailiffs snatches a cell phone from a Caucasian woman across the hall. I kind of chuckled because she looked all shocked, you know living in her privilege that a big Highly Melanated Man just yelled at her and snatched her phone. You are not allowed to take pictures or video in the courthouse PERIOD. She broke the rules and had to deal with the consequences. FOX NEWS DO BETTER AND OBEY THE RULES.
35 minutes passed by, "All Rise" as Judge Phinn enters the court room. A few more minutes went by before Adnan returned as well. Lee family is welcomed, and he begins to give his statement: In distress he says the Judge made the right decision before, it's a nightmare to have to relive this over and over again. He feels betrayed, questions his faith but is not against a reinvestigation.
He said hearing the request to vacate the conviction is hard to swallow. He requested the Judge to make the right decision and for the prosecutors to find the person that killed his sister. In tears he proclaims how all this is very tough and it's their real lives. The never-ending nightmare they are experiencing when it keeps coming back up over and over again. Pleads for the Judge to make the right decision. At the end the attorney made himself visible via zoom and requested to give last remarks. Judge Phinn recognized Lee's distress and thanked him for making his statements but denied the request of the attorney to give last remarks.
On to the motion to vacate: SA Feldman begins her affidavit by saying the October 2021 they began to investigate Adnan's case due to new concerns. There were items available for DNA testing that had not been tested before and the amounts of new information was concerning. March 2022 DNA testing was done. The SA found 17 boxes in the Attorney General's office that they meticulously went through. In those boxes they found evidence that was never investigated, Brady violations and new evidence that gives them 2 other suspects from 2 separate victim interviews/complaints. Digging into Hae Min Lee's investigation by Detective William Ritz who retired from the Baltimore Police Department in 2012, several issues of concern presented itself. Ritz withheld information, did not investigate eyewitness reports and the dna evidence was never tested. In 2016 Malcolm Bryant was exonerated after 17 years in prison. It was found the Detective Ritz failed to disclose the true perpetrator, manipulated sketches and never interviewed witnesses that could provide testimony for Bryant's alibi. Malcolm Bryant was awarded a civil judgement of 8 million dollars this year. Looking into his investigation of Lee his evidence didn't support the timeline of her death.
The new evidence investigated by the State's Prosecution SRU discovered Lee's vehicle was found on the property of a potential suspects family member. The 2 suspects that were overlooked appear to be viable suspects as they have
similar charges before and after Hae's murder. Neither suspects have been properly investigated nor cleared for her murder. One of the suspects failed the polygraph and the police plain and simply lied to fit the timeline of death and charge Adnan Syed as the suspect.
Regarding the cell site records that was argued in 2019 with Justin Brown as Adnan's attorney, the SRU concluded that the records are NOT reliable and should not have been used as
evidence. There are many factors that come into determining location from cellular phones and the evidence submitted cannot be relied on.
With the new information the States Attorney's Office felt Adnan Syed in entitled to a new trial. Specifically, Becky Feldman stated they no longer feel confident in the conviction of Adnan Syed. Judge Phinn accepted the affidavit as evidence and moved on to Adnan's attorney Erica Suter. Erica Suter reiterated the dissatisfaction in the original investigation which caused Adnan to be incarcerated at 18 years old to now at 41 years old. Erica's legal team and Becky's legal team worked together in reinvestigating Hae Min Lee's murder with the evidence found in those 17 boxes. Judge Phinn accepted the remarks and moved on to her judgement. Adnan was charged with Kidnapping, False Imprisonment, Robbery and Murder, all 4 charges have been vacated and Adnan is #freeish for now at home under home detention. After 23 years, Adnan finally got to go home, a place he's been wanting to be since January 1999 when he was just a teenager and charged at 17 years old.
This is Justice Delayed Finally Served for Adnan Syed and all the other victims awaiting their day for their cases to be overturned. The court room was full of supporters from every class, ethnicity and age group. You can tell the impact Adnan has on people he knows and those like me that only know of him from Serial Podcast. Sarah Koenig, Rabia Chaudry, Susan Simpson, Colin Miller, Justin Brown, Erica Suter, Becky Feldman and Marily Mosby THANK YOU!
This is the Rainbow Coalition that Fred Hampton spoke about before his murder by the Chicago Police Department. Be proud of Maryland residents that are working to correct the wrongs of this state. This is the village, and we need you!
Updates post article:
"I think Attorney General Brian Frosh needs to speak to his office's willful decision to sit on exculpatory evidence for the last seven years. His inability to uphold this fundamental obligation denied Mr. Syed his right to a fair trial and now forces a family to relive an unimaginable nightmare because of his unconscionable misdeeds. As opposed to deflecting from his prosecutorial failure, I urge AG Frosh to 'dig a little deeper' and evaluate any other errors infringing on the rights of other Marylanders."
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