RIVERSIDE (AP) — A federal judge has rejected an attempt by the California Attorney General’s office to send a man released after 26 years behind bars back to prison.

The ruling from U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips in Riverside Friday means continued freedom for Bruce Lisker, who was sentenced in 1983 for the stabbing death of his mother but released a year ago when Phillips ruled he was convicted with false evidence and without adequate representation.

The state said last month that the statute of limitations on Lisker’s appeal ran out seven years before he filed it, but in a decision obtained Friday by the Los Angeles Times, Phillips said the state should have appealed her ruling last year when they had a legal opportunity and rejected the motion, calling it “fatally flawed.”

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