GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP/CBS) – A Colorado man who was sentenced to more than 300 years in prison for sexually assaulting six children was released after an appeals court determined that his right to a speedy trial had been violated.
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports 46-year-old Michael McFadden was released from prison Tuesday after the Colorado Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
McFadden was convicted in 2015, but his trial was delayed after his attorneys sought to include provisions in the juror questionnaire and the judge granted a continuance. Colorado’s appellate court ruled that the delay couldn’t be attributed to McFadden, who won’t have to register as a sex offender because his convictions were vacated.
District Attorney Dan Rubinstein says he’s appalled by the decision, but “we are without remedy.”
Rubinstein provided more details in a statement posted on Facebook.
“The defendant was charged with sexually assaulting six children and being a habitual sex offender against children. The trials of all of these victims were consolidated. On two previous occasions, the defense asked for a continuance and waived his right to a speedy trial in order to secure the continuance,” Rubinstein explained.
“Prior to the third trial date, there was a jury questionnaire which was drafted by the defense which referenced Mr. McFadden’s prior offense, which both parties were comfortable with, given the court’s ruling that the facts of the prior offense were going to be admissible,” Rubinstein stated. “After the questionnaire had been passed out to the jury, the judge noticed the reference to the prior offense, admitted he had not read the questionnaire and a discussion ensued about whether the defendant could receive a fair trial with the reference.”
“Ultimately the court found that the defense was, in part, at fault for the jury hearing this information, and said that the court of appeals would find it to be plain error to move forward with this jury pool,” Rubinstein stated. “The judge granted a continuance of the trial, over the objection of the defense, finding that the defense’s role in this situation waives his statutory right to his case being tried within 6 months, and reset the case for trial.”
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