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's murder conviction was overturned in 1983, and the governor commuted his death sentence to life in prison 11 days later.
Hartfield's case didn't receive more attention until 2006, when he filed a handwritten motion saying his constitutional right to a speedy trial had been violated because he hadn't been retried.
A new trial doesn't seem close. On Wednesday, a federal appeals court sent his case back to the state appeals court, where it is likely to be tied up longer.