Court rules family’s appeal can advance in ‘Serial’ case

Adnan Syed, center, leaves the Cummings Courthouse
Adnan Syed, center, leaves the Cummings Courthouse in Baltimore on Sept. 19, 2022.
(Brian Witte / Associated Press)

An appeal of the court proceedings that freed Adnan Syed from prison filed by the family of the homicide victim in the case chronicled in the true-crime podcast “Serial” can move forward, Maryland’s intermediate appellate court ruled Friday.

The family of Hae Min Lee has contended that their rights were violated, because they did not receive enough notice about a September court hearing that resulted in Syed’s murder conviction being overturned. Lee’s family has said it is not seeking to affect Syed’s release from prison in its appeal.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled Friday that the family’s appeal will be considered in February.


“Hae Min Lee’s family is thrilled with today’s ruling,” said Steve Kelly, an attorney representing the family. “All they are seeking is what the law requires — a full evidentiary hearing in which they can meaningfully participate and one that makes public the relevant evidence.”

At the September hearing, a Baltimore judge ordered Syed’s release after overturning his murder conviction for the 1999 death of Lee, who was Syed’s ex-girlfriend and 18 years old at the time.

Prosecutors had moved to vacate Syed’s conviction on Sept. 14. That followed a yearlong investigation and was two days after they notified the Lee family.

Last month, Baltimore prosecutors dropped charges against Syed.

Syed has always maintained his innocence. His case captured the attention of millions in 2014 when the debut season of “Serial” focused on Lee’s killing and raised doubts about some of the evidence prosecutors had used, inspiring heated debates across dinner tables and water coolers about Syed’s innocence or guilt.

Prosecutors said a reinvestigation of the case revealed evidence regarding the possible involvement of two other possible suspects. The two may be involved individually or may be involved together, the state’s attorney’s office said.