CHICAGO (CBS) — A paperwork problem is the only thing standing in the way of erasing the last charges facing a man who served more than 20 years for a rape in Waukegan that he did not commit.

It could be resolved sooner than first thought.

Trial Court Judge Victoria Rossetti needs paperwork from the Illinois Appellate Court sending the case back to her courtroom before she can act. Rossetti set a Jan. 24 court date, but Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim told WBBM he won’t wait that long.

He said the appellate prosecutor’s office has already filed paperwork with the court to get the paperwork, known as a mandate, issued as soon as possible. He said he anticipates being able to return to court next week to formally dismiss the charges.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts Reports

Bennie Starks left court disappointed, but Nerheim said he and defense lawyers want dismissal done as soon as possible. DNA evidence excluded Starks as the rapist in the 1985 attack. Nerheim said to continue prosecuting the case would be a “disservice of justice.”