GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX/CNN) — A Colorado man sentenced to more than 300 years for child sex crimes is now free, after a court threw out his conviction due to a technicality.
Michael Tracy McFadden, 46, was sentenced to more than 300 years in prison on charges he sexually assaulted six young boys and girls. On Tuesday, he was released from the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility.
McFadden appealed his conviction and claimed that delays in his original trial violated Colorado’s speedy trial statutes. A speedy trial means the defendant must be tried for the alleged crimes within a reasonable time after being arrested. The state’s court of appeals ruled in McFadden’s favor and also said he could not be retried.
District Attorney Dan Rubenstein said the outcome is something he never saw coming.
“Frankly I’m completely appalled with the decision,” Rubenstein said. “I find it offensive that our justice system would allow this to happen.”
According to Rubenstein, there are two types of speedy trials: constitutional and statual. With a constitutional speedy trial, there is no time frame depending on the case. But in Colorado, statutory speedy right trials require a time frame of six months.
“We petitioned for cert through the attorney general’s office who does our criminal appeals, petitioned for cert to the Supreme Court to see if they would overturn the Court of Appeals. They decided not to hear the case, and left the Court of Appeals decision final,” Rubenstein said.
And because of that decision, McFadden was released from prison, leaving many families in the area outraged.
“The justice system completely failed in this situation, and you’ve heard the phrase before got off on a technicality?” Rubenstein said.”This is that situation to the most stark sense I’ve ever seen it.”