A Baltimore court has overturned the conviction of Adnan Syed, subject of the first season of the popular Serial podcast. Syed had been convicted and serving a life sentence for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee but has maintained his innocence. On Monday, Baltimore Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn in her ruling cited that there was material in the state investigation that had not been properly turned over to defense attorneys. Additionally, Judge Phinn noted that there was the existence of two suspects who may not have been properly cleared during the investigation.
Monday's ruling comes after Maryland State prosecutors filed a motion last week asking the court to vacate Syed's 2000 murder conviction. In that motion, the State prosecutors explained that a year-long investigation which had been conducted along with Syed's defense team had uncovered new information "concerning the possible involvement of two alternative suspects" as well as that the legal parties as well as issues involving critical evidence that had been presented at trial. It's important to note that while the motion asked for Syed's conviction be overturned, it did not go so far as to assert that Syed is innocent. Per the prosecutor, the investigation into the crime will continue.
"To be clear, the State is not asserting at this time that Defendant is innocent," the motion stated, adding that the prosecution "no longer has confidence in the integrity of the conviction."
Monday's ruling comes almost eight years after the popular Serial podcast took on Syed's case, digging into his conviction and raising questions about the investigation, his legal representation, and other issues. The case was further examined in the popular HBO docuseries The Case Against Adnan Syed.
As Syed was 17 and a minor at the time of his arrest, the case has also raised question about the legalities of life sentences for minors as well as other concerns within the criminal justice system. Syed, who is now 41 and has been incarcerated for 23 years, has always maintained his innocence.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Syed will remain on GPS monitoring pending a new trial. Prosecutors have 30 days to determine if they want to re-try Syed or if they want to drop the charges altogether.
Photo: Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images