Texas Inmate Waits 30 Years For RetrialBy MICHAEL GRACZYK
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HOUSTON -- A Kansas man who remains in a Texas prison more than 30 years after his murder conviction was overturned has become the subject of a fight between the state, which insists he's being legally held, and a federal appeals court that says he's wrongly imprisoned.
Jerry Hartfield, whose conviction was overturned in 1983, maintains his constitutional right to a speedy trial has been violated after the state failed to retry him but also didn't set him free.
A federal appeals court has agreed with him, but he's unlikely to receive a new trial soon after the same court, in a spat with the state attorney general's office, sent his case back to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday with a request that it define the status of its ruling overturning Hartfield's conviction. If the Texas appeals court accepts the federal appeals court's request, it could set off a new series of legal proceedings that ties up the attorney general's office and drags out the case.