Rapist Clemency

September 11, 2003 -- Posted at 7:45 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.  --Governor Huckabee says he wants to free an eastern Arkansas man imprisoned for rape 33 years ago.

Fifty-four-year-old James E- Scott was convicted in February 1970 of first-degree rape in St. Francis County and sentenced to death. He was one of 15 condemned men spared execution when then-Governor Winthrop Rockefeller commuted the sentences of all death-row inmates on December 29th, 1970, days before he left office.

Huckabee's notice of executive clemency yesterday said the governor intended to commute Scott's sentence to 202 years, nine months and 25 days, which the state Department of Correction said would make Scott eligible for release in October.

The governor's notice said First Judicial District judicial and law enforcement officials had raised no objections to Scott's clemency application.

In a letter to the parole board, Prosecutor Fletcher Long Junior said clemency should be granted since two other defendants in the case had been freed by federal court order.

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