Now that [artist id="610149"]Shyne[/artist] is "90 percent of the way [article id="1617601"]home" from prison,[/article] as his lawyer told MTV News earlier this week, the rapper's October 6 release date from prison will be as highly anticipated as a blockbuster album release date.
But fans also might wonder if Shyne is really getting out of jail this time.
After a number of rumored release dates over the years, fans have grown wary about the possibility of the rapper's return after being imprisoned following a guilty verdict in 2001 for his involvement in the [article id="1444181"]Club New York shooting case,[/article] which also involved Diddy and his then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez. Every year, word spread that the Brooklyn MC would be sprung from jail, and then nothing happened.
So what's the deal?
Shyne's attorney, Oscar Michelen, spoke to MTV News on Thursday (August 5) and explained that his client's release date was never in question.
When the rapper was sentenced in June 2001, a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Corrections confirmed to MTV News that Shyne would not be eligible for release until he served eight years and seven months of jail time. At the time of the sentencing, Shyne had already served two months in New York's Rikers Island. A simple calculation with that public information reveals Shyne's release date was always set for October 2009.
The rumored release dates over the years, Michelen believes, were a result of misinterpretation of legal filings and, at one point, a computer error.
"I'll tell you what happens, I think [the basis for the rumor] was created by a computer," he explained, "because the Department of Corrections has a Web site where you can do an inmate look-up. And if you have the information it will show you that [Shyne's] earlier release date was originally April [of this year] and then June. And we don't now how that was in there. But it showed that. And then what would happen is before a release date [an inmate] would get produced before a parole board, and in the institution there would be rumors that [Shyne] was up for parole. I guess inmates or guards would spread the rumor."
But Michelen said Shyne has never actually been before a parole board.
"To my knowledge he was never actually physically presented to a parole board, because there was no decision to be made," he said. "It was clear when he would be getting out — he would be getting out the earliest he could — so what would he discuss, really?"
The June date that was listed in the electronic database of the DOC, Michelen explained, was Shyne's minimum early release date. It was a date Shyne could have been released with good behavior, at the discretion of officials, but due to the violent nature of the rapper's crime, Michelen said all parties involved pretty much knew the true release date would be the maximum early release date in October of this year. There's only a small degree of subjectivity involved with granting the earlier April date over the October date, Michelen said, if Shyne served with good behavior, after laws enacted in the past by former New York Governor George Pataki eliminated a larger leeway judges previously held in sentencing offenders.
To further complicate matters, Michelen said that when his client filed a motion a few years ago challenging the constitutionality of his conviction, he believes people assumed the potential release date if the motion was granted became Shyne's new release date.
The rumors took on such a life of their own that Michelen said people took them as fact — at one point, he said, Shyne himself was just as confused. However, he is now clear to be released on October 6.
"People love rumors," he said. "They hear things and then they think it's gospel. [Shyne] even called me and asked, 'Am I getting out in June?' "