California Legislator Introduces Bill to Eliminate Statute of Limitations for Rape Cases

Speaker pro Tempore Sally Lieber, of San Jose, has introduced legislation to eliminate California‘s 10 year statute of limitation on serious sexual offenses, including rape. Most forms of rape have a 10 year limitation unless DNA evidence identifies a potential defendant before the 10 year period has run.

A crime cannot be prosecuted after the period of a statute of limitation has run. Most crimes (not murder) have a limit on prosecution.

Lieber’s bill would eliminate the limitation on prosecuting serious sexual offenses including rape, sodomy, child molestation, oral copulation, continuous sexual abuse of a child, forcible acts of sexual penetration, and fleeing the state with the intent to avoid prosecution for a sex offense.

“The seriousness of these crimes dictates that the statute of limitations be removed. Victims should not be penalized for a reporting delay rooted in the trauma of the crime itself,” said Lieber. “The emotional suffering of victims and the danger to society posed by these criminals does not end when the current statute of limitations expires.”

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