BY MELANIE BUCK –
Michael Laws, age 29, of Mena was sentenced to 10 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections by presiding Polk County Circuit Judge Jerry Ryan on Monday, September 14, 2015. The sentence comes after several probation violations on behalf of Laws, specifically of the condition of having no contact with the victim in the original case.
Law was convicted by a jury of his peers on July 16, 2015 in Polk County Circuit Court of felony sexual assault of a minor in the 1st degree. He was sentenced by the jury to 10 years probation. At that time, Prosecutor Andy Riner recommended to Judge Ryan that he also impose a permanent no contact order with the victim, who is now 18 years of age, which he did, as well as added to the jury’s recommended sentence that the probation be supervised. Laws was also required to register as a sex offender.
However, after multiple times of being caught with the victim after being convicted, including an incident that stemmed last week in a Fort Smith motel, and being arrested for criminal trespass last Friday, Laws was brought back before Circuit Court on Monday for a probation violation hearing. ACC Probation Officer Frank Gibson testified at the hearing that he has been unable to successfully supervise Laws, “It’s clear watching his body language today that he finds probation to be a joke. He’s laughing and talking to his wife earlier and talking to [the victim] now, making verbal gestures. During incarceration he’s had several incident reports from the Sheriff’s office where he’s had contact with females. He does not take probation seriously. He does not listen to me when I say, ‘do not have contact,’ he does not listen to this court when it says, ‘no contact.’ He is not going to listen; this is not going to stop. This has happened over and over again, it’s repetitive.”
Judge Ryan told Laws, “What bothers me is that the jury, on July 16, saw some sympathy for you and you have just thrown your nose up. The jury is a laughing stock to you as well as this court. I have never in the 27 years that I have been a judge, ever seen anybody that tried so hard to get to the penitentiary.”
After sentencing Laws was remanded to the Polk County Detention Center while awaiting a transfer to the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Laws will be eligible for parole upon completion of ¼ of his sentence, and he will receive credit for time already served.
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