The man convicted in the case is claiming he received no speedy trial.
Frederick, Md (KM) The case of a man convicted of the murder of a teenager in Frederick in the 1990’2 could be heard before the US Supreme Court. Lloyd Harris, 54, was convicted in 2017 for the rap[e and murder of Stacy Hoffmaster, 15. and was sentenced to life in prison. .
State’s Attorney Charlie Smith says Harris has appealed his conviction and sentence to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, but was not successful. “He filed what’s called a writ of certiorari, which is basically a request that they receive by about 700 or so cases each year. They chose very few. Maybe about a hundred a year. So basically saying I want you to review my case,” says Smith.
Hoffmaster disappeared on October 1st, 1996. Her body was found in a wooded area near I-70 and East South Street. At the time, Frederick Police say she had been strangled.
Harris was arrested in 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri, and charged with Hoffmaster’s murder. He was indicted on January 22nd, 2016.
The MacArthur Justice Center is providing legal representation for Harris before the High Court. It contends that there was an egregious delay in indicting Harris which affected its client’s ability to defend himself, and this is a violation of due process.
Smith takes issue with that. “We don’t believe the case has merit at all, nor do we believe the Supreme Court will review it. But that’s entirely up to them,” he says.
“He obviously argued that same speedy trial type of argument at the lower courts. It was denied. He argued it again in the appellant courts in the state system. It was denied,” Smith continues. “And so now he’s going to try to get his third bite at the apple, I guess, with the United States Supreme Court.”
He also doesn’t believe Harris’ conviction and sentencing will be overturned even if the justices agreed to take the case. “If they take it up, then they will revisit those issues already decided by lower courts. That doesn’t mean they will overturn that.. Many times they’ll take a case just to set a final precedent on a particular legal issue that’s being raised,” he said.
The Maryland Office of the Attorney General is representing the state in this case before the Supreme Court.
The writ of certiorari was scheduled to be formally presented to the High Court on Friday.
By Kevin McManus