Those who represent defendants often oppose eliminating the statutes of limitations. The theory goes that the fairness of a trial is compromised by the passage of time, so prosecutors shouldn’t sit on evidence of a crime and wait to charge a person once memories have faded, documents have been thrown out and alibis get hard to prove. This is why other criminal charges — with rare exception — have time limits, they argue, and rape and sexual assault should not be treated differently.Statutes of limitations aren't designed to protect the guilty--though sometimes they do--they are designed to protect the innocent, the wrongly accused. Allred doesn't even bother to say how the wrongly accused should be protected against old claims they can't possibly defend against. By refusing to acknowledge that the wrongly accused are deserving of any such protections whatsoever, Allred underscores the injustice of the position she advocates.
Rape and sexual assault are different, however. Other crimes are much more likely to be reported quickly, but we know that victims of sexual violence often take years to come forward because they may feel ashamed, mistakenly blame themselves for what happened or fear they will not be believed. Police and prosecutors aren’t holding onto evidence; they haven’t been informed that there was a crime.
For constitutional reasons, the Justice for Victims Act would not be retroactive; it can’t re-open the door to criminal courts that statutes of limitations already have slammed shut. But it will help victims of rape and sexual assault in the future.
If Gov. Brown signs this bill into law, statutes of limitations no longer will be a sexual predator’s best friend and a victim’s worst enemy.
If someone is accused today of committing rape 20, 30, or 40 years ago, there is no realistic way he will be able to defend against it. I can think of few things more frightening. It is almost certain he will not be able to establish an alibi. All witnesses, all documents showing, for example, he was somewhere else when the alleged crime occurred, will have been lost to the mists of time.
None of that is a concern to Allred or her ilk. All that matters is that it will be easier for women to get convictions many years after the rape.
“The statute of limitations is there for a reason,” said Natasha Minsker, director of the ACLU of California Center for Advocacy and Policy “When a case is prosecuted literally decades after the event, it becomes much more ... difficult to prove that you are wrongfully accused." See here.
The longer an accuser waits to bring a charge from the date it allegedly occurred, the more difficult it is to fairly defend against it. The horror stories of the repressed memories witch hunts are examples of what can occur. In rape cases, there is a national trend to lengthen or eliminate statutes of limitations entirely. This is a concern to the criminal defense bar, the ACLU, and many others. We write about it from time to time -- see e.g.: http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com/2011/12/assholez-who-despise-falsely-accused.html; http://falserapesociety.blogspot.com/2008/07/alarming-trend-states-extend-statutes.html; http://www.cotwa.info/2011/12/feminist-legal-scholar-explains-need.html.
It is painful to see that so many in the progressive camp have become so terribly hostile to due process and basic notions of fairness. They've hitched their wagons to group identity politics and don't think that defendants accused of crimes involving a penis are entitled to any protections. I can't think of any other issue where self-professing liberals are happy to see due process rolled back for a particular group. For what other crime have liberals applauded eliminating statutes of limitations? A friend of mine recently said that he didn't leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left him. Thank goodness for the ACLU and the defense bar, but the rest of the party seems to have forgotten how they once revered fundamental notions of justice.