Gonzalez v. Thaler: SCOTUS Case

Main Issue: Can the court of appeals intervene in a federal habeas case? And when does the statute of limitations for federal habeas claims begin?

One June 2nd of 1995, Robert Velasquez was murdered in a drive-by shooting, in which Rafael Gonzalez was labeled as one of the men in the two cars involved in the shooting, and thus an accomplice, if not the perpetrator of the murder. Officers tried to arrest Gonzales at his last known address, but unbeknownst to detectives, Gonzalez had left the country. After failing to apprehend Gonzalez at any known addresses, no further attempts to locate him were made until six weeks later detectives were told that Gonzalez was in Guatemala. Shortly thereafter the U.S embassy in Guatemala was informed of Gonzalez's actions and general whereabouts, but no further action was taken to apprehend him.
Six years later the extradition process begins, but he is not extradited until July of 2004, nine years after the murder. On July 15th of 2005, Gonzalez is put on trial. At this trial, he attempts to have the case dismissed on the grounds that this trial violates his 6th and 14th amendments, which guarantee him a speedy trial. In addition, he adds that because he was unaware that he was charged with murder for most of those ten years, he was unable to prepare a proper defense for the case. Ultimately he was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison. After sentencing, he filed many habeas corpus appeals, which in short protect a person from unlawful detention, as he saw because of the lack of a speedy trial, violating the 6th and 14th amendments. The appeals climbed the judicial ladder until it finally arrived at United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. However, because the appeals had not had any approval on it's journey here, there was no 'renewal' for the expiration date, so the claim was long expired, and thus discarded on those grounds, with little consideration to the constitutional issue it brought up. He then filed an appeal addressed to the district court, requesting a certificate of appealability. This was denied on grounds of being untimely as well, so in turn he filed a request with the court of appeals for a certificate of appealability. Ultimately, this request was granted, and Judge Garza signed a certificate of appealability. This has caused quite a lot of rabble, and has brought up a large question: Should courts dismiss constitutional claims on procedural bases without any real investigation of the constitutional claims?
I'm not quite sure what to think of this. Logically, I believe he should stay in jail because he was involved in a murder, but procedurally he should walk free because he was denied the constitutional right to a prompt and speedy trial. This case is really quite a mess and it's very hard to predict the outcome. If it were a small crime, then I think certainly the charges would be dropped due to the constitutional issues, but because it's murder it's much more complex. I think that this case will come down to very small details, but I think he stands a chance of winning it due to his persistence.