In 1976, Richard Nash (respondent) pled guilty in New Jersey to charges of breaking and entering with intent to rape and assault with intent to rape and was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison on each count, to run consecutively for a total of three years. The court suspended two years of the Nash’s sentence and imposed a two-year term of probation to follow his confinement. While on probation, Nash was arrested in Pennsylvania and charged with burglary, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and loitering. Nash was tried, convicted, and sentenced to a term of imprisonment in Pennsylvania. While awaiting trial, the probation office in New Jersey contacted the Pennsylvania court and informed it that Nash had violated his probation by committing crimes in Pennsylvania. The probation office requested that a bench warrant be issued for Nash and a detainer lodged against him so that he could be returned to New Jersey after he completed his sentence in Pennsylvania. Shortly thereafter, Nash sent a series of letters to New Jersey officials requesting final disposition of the probation-violation charge and New Jersey failed to bring Nash to “trial” within 180 days as required by the Interstate Agreement on Detainers. Nearly four years later, the Pennsylvania court granted Nash’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus, vacated his probation revocation and released him from custody. Carchman (petitioner), the prosecutor in New Jersey, appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The appellate court affirmed the Pennsylvania state court’s decision. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.