Lack of speedy trial results in dismissal of case against prison inmate

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By Ray King

The Arkansas Court of Appeals on Wednesday ruled that an inmate at the Varner Unit of the Arkansas Department of Corrections was correct when he argued that the state’s speedy trial rules were violated.

Jimmy Jacobs, now 29, had been charged with three counts of kidnapping stemming from an incident at the Tucker Maximum Security Unit where Jacobs and six other inmates held three ADC employee’s hostage on Jan. 31, 2018.

He was served with an arrest warrant on Feb. 9, 2018 which started the 12-month time limit to bring the case to trial.

Over a year later, in 2019, a motion to continue the trial was filed by one of Jacobs’ co-defendants which was granted and in December 2019, an order was entered setting a new trial date for May 19, 2020. Prior to that date, his court appointed attorney withdrew because he had been appointed a Federal Public Defender. A new attorney was appointed and in May 2020, the State Supreme Court suspended jury trials because of the pandemic.

In December 2021 Jacobs filed a motion to dismiss the charges and according to the appeals court, a total of 909 days passed that were not excluded from speedy trial requirements,  far exceeding the 365 day limit and is a failure by the state to bring an accused person to trial in a timely manner.

The Appeals Court threw out the convictions and dismissed the case.