Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Statute of Limitations?!

The other night The Man and I were watching A&E's "Cold Case Files" (the real show, not the drama set in Philly) and the case involved a serial rapist that wasn't in CODIS (the FBI's Combined DNA Index System) --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 (there was a Law & Order SVU based on this case). While we were watching I couldn't help but wonder why there was a statute of limitations on rape --then the obvious train of thought --why any statute of limitations on any crime?

Here is 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." (source)

..."and people prefer to get on with their lives without legal intrusions from the past"?!

Well, we wouldn't want to inconvenience them or anything. I mean I know if I got away with robbing some little old lady's house, I certainly wouldn't want someone coming around years later and calling me on it.

I never put much thought into it before, but the idea of a cap on the time someone can be prosecuted for a crime seems VERY wrong...especially when it concerns rape and/or molestation.

HERE is a website that lists statutes state-by-state. Wrongful death is only two years in Pennsylvania... So glad to hear those wrongful death causers won't be "legal intrusions from the past".

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