Convict Caught in Legal Limbo


A Nebraska man is lost in legal limbo. He was sentenced to both state & federal prison for drug offenses, but can't seem to get to either.

Cole Gustafson wants to get out of jail so he can go to prison.

"I'm stuck in limbo," he told Fact Finders in a phone call, "I've been [forgotten]."

Gustafson has been stitting in the Douglas County Jail four months, waiting to be taken to either federal or state prison.

Defense attorney Mike Fitzpatrick says in 14 years as a lawyer, "I've never seen anything even close to this."

Fitzpatrick says his client has been convicted on Oxycontin offenses and sentenced to serve two years in state prison and four years in federal prison. But there's conflicting orders on who gets him first.

"The feds won't take him because he's supposed to do his state time first and the state won't take him because he's got a federal hold on him and no one will blink," says Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick is considering a motion for federal court to unlock the marshals' hold so his state sentence can begin.

By phone Gustafson says he's in jail but worried about not getting credit for time served on his prison sentence.

"I need to pay my debt to society but i want the right any person that goes to prison has. A chance to rehabilitate themselves."

Gustafson says he's not asking to go free, just to be free of a legal entanglement that's kept him from going to prison.

Nebraska Corrections tells us the District Court order says the state sentence runs consecutive to or after the federal sentence. But a federal prosecutor says the state sentence goes first. Both promise to look further into court orders.


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