Hae Min Lee’s family is appealing a Maryland judge’s decision to vacate the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, who served more than 20 years in prison before being released last week for killing the teenager, according to a court document filed Wednesday.
The one-paragraph appeal was filed by attorney Steven Kelly on behalf of the victim’s brother, Young Lee.
“Young Lee filed the attached notice of appeal alleging violations of his family’s right to meaningful participation in the September 19, 2022, motion to vacate Adnan Syed’s sentence,” Kelly said in an emailed statement to CNN. “The notice of appeal is the first step in seeking review of potential violations of Maryland’s victims’ rights statutes in connection with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals hearing.”
Lee filed a motion on the day of the hearing, stating that he did not have sufficient notice to exercise his right to be present at the proceeding. While Associate Justice Melissa Phinn denied his motion, she ordered a 30-minute recess for Lee to leave work and do a Zoom call so he could watch the hearing.
“This is not a podcast for me, this is real life,” Lee said at the hearing last week.
In his impact statement, he said he felt “betrayed” by the state. “I always thought the state was on my side,” Lee said.
“Every time I think it’s over, it’s over, it always comes back,” Lee said through tears.
CNN reached out to the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office for comment on the appeal notice.
Syed was serving a life sentence when his murder conviction was dropped earlier this month. In February 2000, he was convicted of first-degree murder, robbery, kidnapping and false imprisonment for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.
The case gained public scrutiny after being investigated on the hit podcast “Serial,” which raised questions about the conviction and Syed’s legal representation.
Syed’s conviction was vacated after a judge ruled that some materials related to the case were not properly turned over to defense attorneys. The judge also said that there were two suspects who could have been properly cleared as part of the investigation.
“We are still not declaring Adnan Syed innocent,” Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said after the judge’s ruling to vacate the conviction. “But in the interest of fairness and justice we are stating that he is entitled to a new trial.”
Syed is ordered to wear an ankle monitor, according to Becky Feldman, head of the Sentencing Review Unit of the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors are considering whether to pursue a new trial to determine whether Syed’s case can be dismissed pending DNA testing.