Judge Vacates Adnan Syed’s Conviction 22 Years Later


The Wall Street Journal

Adnan Syed walked out of the courtroom as a free man.

Adnan Syed was sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1999 murder of his high school ex-girlfriend, Hae Min-Lee, back in 2000. With the help of social media, he walks free 22 years later.

Syed has maintained his innocence in the murder of Hae Min-Lee throughout his entire conviction, trying to appeal his sentence, but being denied it almost every time.

Regardless of whether or not you believe he’s innocent of the murder, everyone can agree that he didn’t get a free and fair trial. City Circuit Court Judge Melissa Phinn said that the trial prosecutors in the original case failed to turn over evidence to the defense that could have helped Syed’s case. It most likely doesn’t help that he was Muslim in a rapidly Islamophobic climate.

In 2014, his case was featured in the first season of the “Serial” podcast, bringing his case back into the public eye. In 2019, an HBO documentary titled, “The Case Against Adnan Syed” was released, which offered a closer look into the case than the podcast did.

The vacated conviction doesn’t mean that he walks free, though Baltimore City State Attorney Marilyn Mosby tells us. “We’re not yet declaring Adnan Syed is innocent, but we are declaring that in the interest of fairness and justice, he is entitled to a new trial.”

Phinn has given the prosecution 30 days to gather enough evidence to bring a new trial or to completely drop the case. The state is currently waiting on DNA evidence that could or could not connect Syed to the case. There are currently two alternative suspects in the case.

Regardless of whether or not Syed did it, there was not enough evidence in the original trial to convict him of the crime. I hope that we’re able to give closure to all families; not just Syed’s, but also Hae Min-Lee’s. 23 years later, she still deserves justice.