A convicted pedophile in Colorado who received 300 year sentence for molesting six children is now back on the streets due to a technicality.
In 2015, Michael McFadden was found guilty of 19 counts of sexual offenses against children. His crimes earned him a hefty 300-year sentence, KJCT reports.
That all changed on Tuesday, when 46-year-old McFadden was free to go from prison after the Colorado Court of Appeals reversed his conviction.
As a result, he cannot stand trial again on those charges.
Not surprisingly, officials in Mesa County were taken aback by this development. District Attorney Dan Rubinstein told the outlet, “I am completely appalled at this decision. I think the criminal justice system completely failed here,” he continued.
According to KREX, the parents of McFadden’s victims are crushed over the decision, saying their children now terrified.
“Several voicemails from mothers of victims who legitimately are fearful for their children and their children’s safety,” said Kathi Raley, Victim Assistance Coordinator at the District Attorney’s Office.
The reason the court overturned McFadden’s conviction is because they hold that his right to a speedy was violated, reports say.
Apparently, this stems from a jury questionnaire that took place before the trial even began.
During preparation for jury selection, McFadden’s lawyers put forth a questionnaire regarding McFadden’s previous illegal sexual conduct and whether jurors would be unbiased while taking those prior cases into account, KJCT reports.
It was not until jury selection was halfway done that the judge even looked at the questionnaire, Rubinstein says.
When he did finally look at it, he noticed that the details surrounding the previous cases should not have been disclosed to the jurors, therefore McFadden could not receive a fair trial.
Hoping to just delay a short while, the judge granted a continuance to push the case back so that the questionnaire could be dealt with.
McFadden’s attorneys objected, explaining they had a right to a speedy trial. Colorado laws require that it be within six months of arrest. With two previous continuances on the books, the state was pressed for time.
The judge approved the continuance, but not without cost.
Because of that ruling, the court of appeals decided to reverse McFadden’s conviction.
“Because the error here was that he shouldn’t have been tried longer than 6 months from the last time he waived speedy trial, there was no remedy for that and therefore there is no ability to retry him,” said Rubinstein.
The district attorney’s office attempted to appeal the courts’ decision to reverse the conviction, but to no avail.
McFadden is not required to register as a sex offender. Since his previous sex offense happened before the sex offender registry was formed, they do not apply, according to the outlet.
His current whereabouts are not known at this time.