The Michigan appeals court has called a timeout in the case of a Detroit-area drug dealer known as "White Boy Rick," who is hoping to get out of prison after nearly 30 years behind bars.

A Wayne County judge had scheduled a new sentencing hearing for Sept. 18. But the appeals court on Friday stopped the case and extended deadlines to late September for lawyers to file arguments.

Richard Wershe Jr. (WER'-she) is 46 and has been in prison since he was 18. He was convicted of possessing more than 650 grams of cocaine and sentenced to life without parole.

Subsequent changes in Michigan law have given him opportunities for parole, but his release has been denied. Prosecutors say there's nothing illegal about Wershe's sentence.