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NCJ Number: 99419 Find in a Library
Title: Making Sense Out of the California Criminal Statute of Limitations
Journal: Pacific Law Journal  Volume:15  Issue:1  Dated:(October 1983)  Pages:35-82
Author(s): G F Uelmen
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 48
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of California's current statutes of limitations for felonies concludes that the principal determinant of the appropriate duration of such a statute should be the seriousness of the crime and suggests adopting the approach of the Model Penal Code to California law.
Abstract: The current statutes are a pattern of ad hoc legislation and are riddled with inconsistencies. Rationales offered to justify both long and short limitation periods are examined. In summary, factors advanced to justify a short statute of limitations include the staleness of evidence, the need for repose, and the need to motivate prompt investigation. Countervailing reasons for a longer period or no limitation at all include the preclusion of amnesty for serious crimes, the need for lengthier investigations of complex crimes, and the preclusion of avoiding prosecution by concealment of the crime. Analysis of these factors coupled with a survey of 26 prosecutors, 25 defense attorneys, 12 public defenders, and 7 judges supports the conclusion that these factors, except for seriousness and repose, are not crime specific. Their applicability depends more on the particular circumstances of the case and the evidence used than upon the nature of the crime itself. The appendixes contain the current California statutes of limitations, a chart of State-by-State criminal statutes of limitations, a table of survey responses, and a proposed draft law for California based on the Model Penal Code. Tables and 129 footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): California; Felony; Law reform; Model penal code; Statute of limitations
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