The legal jockeying continues in the case of Adnan Syed with the Maryland attorney general’s office on Friday siding with the family of the slain Hae Min Lee to ask the courts to halt all proceedings in the criminal case against the defendant made famous in the hit podcast “Serial.”
The attorney general’s office also asked the court to block Syed’s defense attorney from intervening in the Lee family’s appeal, arguing only the state and Lee family are parties to the appeal.
These maneuvers reveal the showdown to come over Syed’s case as the sides ready for litigation. Lee’s family and the attorney general’s office are asking the Maryland Court of Special Appeals to temporarily block Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby from taking further action on the case.
Mosby had been required by the end of this month to either drop the murder charges against Syed or schedule him for a new trial. A spokeswoman for her office declined to comment Friday.
Listeners around the world have followed Syed’s legal saga through “Serial” and a popular HBO documentary series. Last month, Mosby’s office and defense attorneys together asked a Baltimore judge to release Syed from prison, saying they discovered new exculpatory evidence during a review of his case.
Syed had been serving life behind bars in connection to the 1999 killing of Lee, his ex-girlfriend and classmate at Woodlawn High School.
Meanwhile, an attorney for Lee’s family has argued they deserved more notice before Syed was set free. Their attorney, Steven Kelly, has notified the courts of their plan to appeal the judge’s order to throw out the murder conviction against Syed.
Kelly has not yet filed the appeal. So he asked the judges to halt proceedings in the criminal case until they resolve the upcoming appeal.
Syed’s attorney, Erica Suter, filed a notice Thursday that she intends to respond to Kelly’s motion to stay the case. On Friday, the attorney general’s office filed its own motion to support Kelly’s request and argue Suter has no grounds to intervene.
Suter declined to comment Friday through a spokeswoman.
At issue in the appeal is the notice Lee’s family received about the plan by prosecutors and defense attorneys to throw out the murder conviction against Syed. Kelly has argued that her brother, Young Lee, deserved more time to be prepped on newly-discovered evidence in the case and given a chance to participate.
On Friday, Sept. 16, a Baltimore judge scheduled the hearing for the following Monday. That gave Lee’s brother one weekend; he joined the hearing that Monday by Zoom.
“Mr. Lee wished to attend the hearing in person but could not travel from California on such short notice,” Kelly wrote to the appeal courts.
Baltimore Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn overturned the guilty verdict against Syed after prosecutors and defense attorneys said they found new evidence of alternate suspects and instances where exculpatory evidence was withheld from Syed’s defense attorneys over the years.
Syed was found guilty in 2000 of first-degree murder, robbery, kidnapping and false imprisonment and sentenced to life in prison, plus 30 years. Prosecutors alleged that he killed Lee and dumped her body in Baltimore’s Leakin Park. He has maintained his innocence.