Exoneree Amanda Knox reacts to Adnan Syed's reinstated murder conviction
BALTIMORE - Amanda Knox knows what it's like to be wrongfully committed for a heinous crime.
She was 20 years old when she was charged for the 2007 murder roommate Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. In 2009, she was convicted and sentenced to 26 years in prison.
But, in 2011, Knox appealed the conviction and was found not guilty and was released for prison. In 2015, Knox was definitively acquitted of all charges.
Syed's story has a similar twist.
Adnan Syed, who was accused in the 1999 murder of ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, was told that his conviction has been reinstated five months after his conviction was vacated during a hearing.
His conviction was questioned during the popular podcast "Serial."
Syed was released from prison in September of 2022 after serving more than 20 years for the murder of Lee, his Woodlawn High School classmate and ex-girlfriend.
In January, Lee's brother, Young Lee, filed a motion centered around the October 2022 hearing in which the charges were dropped against Syed. The Lee family argued that prosecutors infringed upon Maryland victims' rights and the short notice Lee's brother received ahead of the hearing.
Young Lee said the court "denied him his rights as the representative of a crime victim."
In a decision released Tuesday, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled to reinstate the original convictions and sentence for Syed.
"While I'm obviously sympathetic to the victims' rights movement, this ruling is a mistake," Knox said. "Victim impact statements have a place during sentencing. (Though too often courts disregard victims who call for mercy). And this hearing wasn't about sentencing."
Knox said just because Young Lee wasn't at the hearing, unless he had evidence, his vacated conviction should not have been impacted.
"Unless Hae Min's brother, Young Lee, had new evidence relevant to the case, and the opportunity to present it, his presence at the hearing that vacated Adnan's conviction shouldn't have impacted the outcome.
Knox weighed in on Syed as he "fights for his freedom a second time."
"It's hard enough to overturn a wrongful conviction," Knox said on social media. "Now they're forcing Adnan to fight for his freedom a second time. I got through it, and so will he, but it's a tragedy nonetheless."
Prosecutors said Syed's charges were dropped after DNA testing results excluded him from evidence in the murder.
"Nothing Young Lee has to say could possibly be relevant to whether or not prosecutors withheld evidence from Adnan's defense," Knox said. :And even this new ruling declined to appoint Young Lee or anyone else as a party of interest able to challenge evidence."
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