A retrial date has been set for September 22 in the case of Jerry Hartfield, who was held without a conviction in a Texas prison for over 30 years.  He was convicted in 1977 and sentenced to death, but his conviction was overturned in 1980 for having an improperly selected jury and the appeals court ordered a new trial, but no officials carried out the court’s order.  Governor Mark White attempted to commute Hartfield’s sentence from death to life in prison in 1983, but without a conviction, the commutation was invalid.  In 2013, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that “the status of the judgment of conviction is that [Hartfield] is under no conviction or sentence.”

A federal judge called Texas’ defense of Hartfield’s unlawful imprisonment “disturbing…”

The trial judge has set a hearing for July 2nd to consider a prosecution request to conduct a psychological analysis of Hartfield, who is described as “an illiterate fifth-grade dropout with an IQ of 51.”  The Matagorda County District Attorney has offered Hartfield a plea deal that would require him to plead guilty in exchange for dropping the death penalty as a possible sentence.  The deal also says that if he accepts, he must waive all rights to appeals.


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