Having an experienced Houston appeals attorney as your counsel is critical when issues of life and death — or life in prison — are at stake. Take the case of Texas inmate Jerry Hartfield.
Hartfield was sentenced to death for the robbery and killing of a bus station employee in 1976. In 1980, an appeals court ordered a new trial on the basis that a potential juror had been wrongfully excluded because of her reservations about the death penalty.
Twice state attorneys requested a hearing on this order. The requests were rejected by the appeals court. The second of these requests was rejected on March 4, 1983. Just 11 days later, Texas Gov. Mark White commuted Hartfield’s sentence on a recommendation of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. After the commutation, both defense and state attorneys left the case in limbo for two decades.
Hartfield stayed in prison, with no end in sight, until 2006 when he filed his own writ of habeas corpus with the help of another inmate. The writ basically requested that he receive a new trial or be released.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals twice rejected his request. Then Hartfield submitted it to the federal court system, where a judge agreed with him.
When interviewed recently, Hartfield maintained his innocence but did not hold a grudge against anyone.
“Being a God-fearing person, he doesn’t allow me to be bitter,” he said.
The Importance Of A Houston Appeals Attorney
It’s possible that if Hartfield had taken steps to retain the services of an experienced Houston appeals attorney, he would not have reached over 30 years under a state of legal limbo.
A simple man described as an illiterate fifth-grade dropout, this man could have used legal counsel who would take up his case and push for his release from imprisonment.
The Houston appeals attorney at Ricardo N. Gonzalez & Associates know that Mr. Hartfield’s injustice isn’t a unique circumstance. We aggressively pursue appeals cases to the full extent of the law. If you need help, call today for a free consultation.