GATESVILLE (January 3, 2013)--Jerry Hartfield was still a young man when an uncle visited him in prison to tell him his murder conviction had been overturned and he would get a new trial, but so far that hasn’t happened.
In 1983, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals confirmed its 1980 ruling overturning Hartfield's murder conviction in the 1976 slaying of a Bay City bus station worker.
Eleven days later, then-Gov. Mark White commuted Hartfield's death sentence to life in prison.
Hartfield, who’s now 56, is challenging his continued detention.
A federal judge recently ruled that Hartfield deserves a new trial or should go free because there was no sentence to commute once his conviction was overturned.
The state is appealing, arguing that Hartfield missed a one-year window in which to challenge White's commutation.