Hae Min Lee's 'Disappointed' Family Files an Appeal

Her brother says hearing that set subject of 'Serial' podcast free wasn't conducted properly
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2022 7:44 AM CDT
Hae Min Lee's Family Wants a Do-Over on Syed Hearing
Adnan Syed, center, the man whose legal saga spawned the hit podcast "Serial," exits the Cummings Courthouse a free man after a Baltimore judge overturned his 1999 murder conviction on Sept. 19 in Baltimore.   (Jerry Jackson/The Baltimore Sun via AP)

Adnan Syed, convicted and imprisoned for more than two decades after his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, was murdered in 1999, "couldn't believe" his conviction was overturned earlier this month. Neither could Lee's brother, Young Lee, and he's now appealing the decision of Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Melissa Phinn to set Syed, 41, free. In a notice filed Wednesday, Steve Kelly, an attorney for Young Lee, said that his client's appeal was based on "violations of his family's right to meaningfully participate" in the hearing earlier this month on the motion to vacate Syed's conviction, reports the Washington Post. Young Lee had been upset that the Sept. 19 hearing was held with little notice, which he says didn't give his family enough time to attend; he watched the hearing via videoconference.

Kelly said his client isn't challenging the release of Syed or a further probe into alternative suspects or new evidence in the case, but is simply "asking for the hearing to be redone in accordance with the law," where the Lee family can attend and address the court in person, he tells the AP. Prosecutor Becky Feldman said in the hearing that Young Lee had texted her on Sept. 18 indicating he'd attend virtually. Later that evening, Feldman said, the Lee family brought on Kelly, who asked that the hearing be postponed for a week so Young Lee could attend in person. Phinn denied that motion, though she did delay the hearing for 30 minutes so Young Lee could leave work and get set up to remotely attend.

Kelly says the Lee family is "open to the possibility" of prosecuting someone other than Syed for Hae Min Lee's murder, but he adds that the family is "disappointed with the way that they were treated ... [and] disappointed with the process." In a statement, a spokesperson for the Baltimore State's Attorney's Office says they "truly empathize" with the Lee family, who they say is "now being retraumatized by the misdeeds of the prior prosecutors," per CNN. They add that they want the right person held accountable. Syed, the subject of the first season of the Serial podcast regarding the murder of 18-year-old Hae Min Lee, is still being monitored via GPS as prosecutors decide whether to move for a new trial or dump the case entirely. They were given 30 days to make that decision. (More Adnan Syed stories.)

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