Court OKs inmate appeal of cell phone conviction
Federal appeals court overturns ruling and allows inmate to appeal cell phone conviction
HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas prisoner who got 10 years for burglary has won a federal appeals court ruling that allows him to appeal an additional 25-year sentence for having a prohibited cell phone in his prison cell.
Forty-five-year-old Kenneth Richards argued his appeal to a federal district was within a required one-year time period but Texas prison officials didn't mail it quickly enough. By the time it got to court in 2011, the time limit had passed and a judge refused it.
But the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Tuesday with Richards, who contends the timing of appeals filed by inmates themselves is based on when they're delivered to prison authorities, not when they're received by the court.
Richards' burglary conviction, his fourth, was from Nacogdoches County.
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