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Governor Brown Signs Bill that lifts 10-year Statute of Limitations on Rape

Posted by Seth Chazin | Nov 14, 2016 | 0 Comments

Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that gets rid of the 10-year statute of limitations on rape (CA Penal Code 261) . The new law applies to rape and sexual assaults that take effect after the law is implemented on January 1, 2017.

Law professors, public defenders, and the American Civil Liberties Union are not happy about this new law. They believe that this change threatens a justice system that is meant for the accused to be able to defend themselves.

Eliminating the statute of limitations can lead to wrongful convictions or slow the prosecution of sex crimes by removing an incentive for law enforcement and prosecutors to act quickly. The criminal statute of limitations dates back to colonial times and ensures that people accused of crimes have the ability to properly defend themselves by collecting evidence and alibis.

The Director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Sacramento, Natasha Minsker, stated that the state law already allowed for extending the statute of limitations in cases where DNA evidence is readily available. She said she worries prosecutors will pursue cases based on witness' memory in a decades-old case. Memory changes over time and that is how people end up wrongfully convicted.

Allowing for a statute of limitations to be lifted on rape means that anyone can accuse someone of rape, decades after the act is committed. As more time passes, evidence becomes hard to collect and memories fade. Criminal convictions should always have a statute of limitations to prevent wrongful convictions from being made.

Eliminating the Statutes of Limitation a Truly Terrible Idea-

About the Author

Seth Chazin

Seth P. Chazin has aggressively defended clients in thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases for over 30 years. He has extensive experience representing criminal defendants in federal and state court, while handling both state and federal appeals as well.


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“The death penalty is a lie, a misguided mistake born of anger and frustration. Capital punishment has become a perverse monument to inequality, to how some lives matter and others do not. It is a violent example of how we protect and value the rich and abandon and devalue the poor. The death penalty is a grim, disturbing shadow formed by the legacy of racial apartheid and bias against the poor that condemns the disfavored among us, but corrupts us all. It’s the perverse symbol elected officials use to strengthen their ‘tough on crime’ reputations and distract us from confronting the causes of violence. It is finally the enemy of grace, redemption and all of us who recognize that each person is more than their worse act.”
- Bryan Stevenson