When an Appeal Goes Wrong: A Criminal Justice Nightmare

18 Journal of Appellate Practice & Procedure 165, Fall 2017

36 Pages Posted: 20 May 2020

See all articles by David R. Dow

David R. Dow

University of Houston Law Center

Date Written: April 16, 2017

Abstract

June 12, 2017, was Jerry Hartfield's first day of freedom in almost forty-one years, even though he had prevailed in the 1980 appeal of his death sentence. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) ordered a new trial in that proceeding, but years, and then decades, went by and no new trial was held. Hartfield spent more than thirty years in a Texas state prison before he finally saw the inside of a courtroom. In this article, we tell his story. We provide an overview of Hartfield's federal and state appeals; we discuss the procedural history in great detail; we discuss the central legal issue presented by Hartfield's case — the right to a speedy trial; and we address an ancillary matter relating to the perverse incentives created by the Fifth Circuit's disposition of Hartfield's pre-trial habeas application.

Keywords: Habeas Corpus, Speedy Trial, Capital Murder, Pre-Trial Writ, Mandamus

Suggested Citation

Dow, David R., When an Appeal Goes Wrong: A Criminal Justice Nightmare (April 16, 2017). 18 Journal of Appellate Practice & Procedure 165, Fall 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3578027

David R. Dow (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

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