November 4, 2003 - Posted at 7:45 a.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Governor Huckabee has commuted the sentence of a convicted rapist who has spent 33 years behind bars for the 1969 assault on a 15-year-old Forrest City girl.
Huckabee commuted the life sentence of James E. Scott to 202 years, nine months and 25 days, making him immediately available for parole.
The next step for Scott will be to convince the state parole board that he should be set free.
The governor's proclamation announcing the decision said judicial and law enforcement officials in the judicial district where Scott was convicted raised no objections to the inmate's clemency request.
Scott was convicted in February 1970 of first-degree rape in St. Francis County and he was sentenced to death. But Scott was one of the "Rockefeller 15", the entire death-row population of condemned men spared execution when then-Governor Rockefeller commuted their sentences before he left office.
Three other men also were convicted in the rape case. Two were given life sentences; the third was given a suspended sentence.