Friday, December 01, 2006

Statute Of Limitations...

A statute of limitations is a statute in the common law legal system that sets forth the maximum period of time after a crime is commited that legal proceedings based on those events may be initiated.

I was watching A&E's "Cold Case Files" and the show involved a serial rapist that wasn't already in CODIS (the FBI's Combined DNA Index System), so to avoid the perpetrator dodging charges due to an expiring statute of limitations, the prosecutor succeeded in having a warrant issued against the DNA of the rapist.

Generally, the time limit starts to run on the date the offense was committed, not from the time the crime was discovered or the accused was identified.

A majority of states have a statute of limitations for all crimes except murder, but while watching the show I couldn't help but wonder why there was a statute of limitations on rape.

Wikipedia's explanation: One reason for statutes of limitations is fairness; that is, over time memories fade, evidence is lost or never found, and people prefer to get on with their lives without legal intrusions from the past.

Well, I sure wouldn't want to inconvenience a criminal or anything.

I know if I got away with a crime, I certainly wouldn't want someone coming around years later and calling me on it.

I can kind of the see the protection it offers individuals in civil court, but the idea of a limit on the time someone can be prosecuted for a serious crime seems wrong to me. Especially when it concerns rape and/or molestation. That seems to protect no one but the abuser.

Texas is one of several states that have recently extended the statute of limitations in cases involving DNA identification of suspects. Under the Texas criminal statute of limitations laws, the statute of limitations for sexual assault or rape is now ten years. Most other felonies have a statute of limitations of three years.

The statute of limitations for some sex offenses against a minor is ten years after the minor reaches the age of eighteen.

DNA testing is the newest weapon in the state’s arsenal of crime-fighting techniques. Prosecutors and police may use DNA testing to exonerate the wrongly convicted and to convict those who have eluded law enforcement for years. DNA testing is the fingerprinting of the new millennium.

A century ago, the technique of matching a fingerprint to crime-scene evidence revolutionized crime solving. At the beginning of a new century, DNA profiling is extending the investigative capabilities of police officers, who can use the process to identify suspects and obtain convictions.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Frank The Crank said...

Mostly statute of limitations are for civil cases, but in criminal ones its to compel the prosecutor to do his job, to ensure a speedy trial or to force them to quit investigating a case that lacks evidence.

3/12/06 22:32  
Anonymous fidelio said...

I can assure you that no one will get away from his crime in the long run, in the end there will be the Ultimate Judge who will judge us all, even those of us who are non beleivers will be Judged as well even if they don't think so.

4/12/06 11:22  
Anonymous amanda said...

We can digitize documents, freeze biological evidence and record witness statements in so many different medias now that a statute of limitations for criminal actions doesn't seem right.

4/12/06 11:30  
Blogger Digital Fortress said...

I understand that statute of limitations are important part of our legal system as they do serve an actual function, specifically they allow cases to proceed to trial while evidence is fresh and witnesses still can recall the chain of events. It just irks me that a criminal can use the system to evade justice.

4/12/06 11:50  
Anonymous reverse_vampyr said...

I can see how it can be abused. The justice system is flawed in many ways, but a good prosecutor can make a case work for him just as well as a defense attorney can find a loop hole. I'm glad Texas law on rape with DNA evidence has no statue of limitations though.

4/12/06 12:08  
Anonymous Sharp As A Marble said...

My favorite statute of limitations is the one I plan on using if I ever have to pursue my new career. Bank robbery has a 5 year statute of limitations. Hehehehehe!

4/12/06 12:38  
Anonymous jumpmaster said...

I agree the idea of a limit on the time someone can be prosecuted for a serious crime seems wrong to me too. Certain crimes shouldn't have that limit, especially if there is enough evidence.

4/12/06 13:33  
Anonymous Dr. Rusty Shackleford said...

Kind of a catch 22...I can see the need for it, but how it can also let someone get off. Should be a way to waive it depending on evidence.

4/12/06 14:12  

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