FORREST CITY, AR (abc24.com) - A Forrest City prosecutor says mistakes made by his office allowed a Forrest City man to walk free after he was charged with raping an 8-day-old girl.
Reginald Davis was freed after Arkansas Circuit Judge L.T. Simes II ruled prosecutors took too long to bring the case to trial.
Davis spent 803 days in jail while awaiting trial, following his September 2008 arrest on a charge he raped an 8-day-old infant.
According to a probable cause affidavit, the infant's injuries were so severe she required surgery. Investigators focused on Davis, interviewing him later that day.
"He finally admitted that he caused the injuries to the child. However, he stated that it was an accident while he was cleaning the baby up," the affidavit states.
"The detective made me say that and stuff," Davis now says.
In February, Jennifer Collins, Davis' attorney, asked a judge to drop the charge because prosecutors had taken too long to bring the case to trial. Collins argued Davis has been denied his right to a speedy trial.
Prosecutor Fletcher Long says the problems started after the Arkansas State Hospital conducted a mental evaluation and determined Davis wasn't fit to stand trial.
Long says weeks later, the hospital reversed course and sent another letter saying Davis was fit to stand trial.
The problem: Long says that second letter, "went over everyone's head."
Last week, Circuit Judge L.T. Simes II agreed with a lawyer for Davis, and ruled his right to a speedy trial had been violated.
In a two-page opinion, Simes wrote, "The Court finds that speedy trial has run and the Court has lost jurisdiction to proceed in this case."
"The court lost jurisdiction on the case, in other words, not just me presiding over it, but the court has lost jurisdiction no matter who the judge is there is no jurisdiction to proceed," Judge Simes said Wednesday evening.
Last week, a woman at the victim's home declined to comment.
"We don't want to talk about it," the woman said as she slammed the door.
Simes says the state has 30 days from his ruling to appeal.
If the state doesn't appeal, or loses its appeal, then Davis will be totally free, and the state can never charge him in connection with this case again.