Why we still need statute of limitations for rape

Writing at Reason.com, Elizabeth Nolan Brown explains why the recent push to eliminate the statute of limitations on sexual assault cases is not such a good idea.

Since the start of 2017, legislatures in Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington state, and Washington, D.C. have considered bills that would drastically expand or outright end the statute of limitations for pressing charges in sexual assault cases. In late 2016, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a measure removing the state’s statute of limitations on rape and other sexual offenses entirely; prosecution was previously limited to 10 years.¬†

Supporters of these changes argue that certain circumstances may make it hard for victims to come forward in a timely manner. Those abused in childhood may not come to terms with it until well into adulthood. Those in abusive relationships may be afraid to report. Or sometimes victims do report and there’s not enough evidence to prosecute at the time but DNA evidence discovered later changes that. But while all of this may be true, none of it holds up to scrutiny as an argument for ending statutes of limitations entirely.

Read Brown’s full argument here.

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