Speedy Trial, Tardy Punishment

August 8, 2003  -- Posted at 7:30 a.m. CDT

BENTON, Ark.  --A judge says a convicted rapist who has lived in the open while waiting six years to be sentenced was speedily convicted, even if tardily punished.

The judge refused Michael Shane Jolly's request to dismiss the case against him on grounds he was denied a speedy trial. The ruling came yesterday.

In the years since Jolly pleaded guilty to raping a 12-year-old girl, he has been arrested six times and lived openly in Benton -- even fathering two children. He had two sentencing dates set, but the hearing was never held.

Prosecutor Robert Herzfeld says court records are unclear on why Jolly was NOT sentenced, but he says it is to Jolly's credit that he never ran away. Jolly is again scheduled for sentencing, this time on Monday.

His lawyer, public defender Joe Hardin, is asking the state Supreme Court to stop the sentencing. Jolly faces 10 years to life in prison.

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