Man accused of raping 8-day old infant set free

A man accused of raping an eight-day-old infant is free after a judge ordered that charges be dropped over lack of a speedy trial.

Circuit Judge L.T. Simes II issued the ruling last week, in the case of the State of Arkansas vs. Reginald Davis. The ruling stated in part, "the Court has lost jurisdiction to proceed in this case."

Davis was arrested on Sept. 1, 2008 and charged with allegedly raping his eight-day-old daughter. He had been held in custody at the county jail or at the Arkansas State Hospital from the time of his arrest until Simes ordered that he be released on his own recognizance on March 2 of this year.

Before releasing Davis, Simes presided over a hearing in February in which the defense requested that charges be dropped or Davis be released to await trial. The hearing was described at the time as "bizarre" by deputy Prosecutor Chris Morledge.

The reason for the "bizarre" label was that the state's two main witnesses - the victim's mother and grandmother - said they wanted to drop the whole thing.

During testimony, Brea Banks, the victim's mother, said that at one time she believed Davis was the father of her child, but doesn't believe that now. She also said she still believed Davis did it, but she wanted to drop it because "I want it behind me. She's doing okay now."

However, Morledge pointed out that there was no doubt that something bad had happened to the child. Medical reports described a torn vagina and fractured skull.

There was no DNA testing in the case.

Davis' family claimed that he was denied a speedy trial, while prosecutors argued that there had been numerous continuances requested {}by the defense, including mental evaluations.

Jennifer Collins, the defense attorney, acknowledged that the time charged to the prosecution for a speedy trial stops while the accused is undergoing a mental evaluation. However, she claimed that there were 803 days that did count toward a speedy trial.

Morledge said {}there were delays because of errors in the evacuation, in which it appeared that the doctors were contradicting themselves, and said that time spent correcting the evaluation should not be held against the prosecution.

Collins countered by saying that even though mistakes were made, too much time had still transpired.

In his ruling, Simes cited a case in which the state Supreme Court ruled that a defendant's right to a speedy trial was violated when his trial commenced on the 600th day following his arrest.

Neither Morledge nor Prosecuting Attorney Fletcher Long could be reached for comment this morning.

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