Why Are There Statutes of Limitations? - VeggieBoards - A Vegetarian Community
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#1 Old 12-12-2011, 06:13 AM
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Struggling to understand why there are statutes of limitations on crimes.

Keeping in mind the recent investigations of the death of Natalie Wood and the slew of coaches being prosecuted for molesting young boys.
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#2 Old 12-12-2011, 06:29 AM
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Well, IIRC, for abuse of children, it's when the crime is discovered. As for murder, I don't believe there is a statute of limitations.

The argument for a statute of limitations is that charging someone with a crime 20 or 30 years later means that evidence has disappeared, witnesses may have died or their memories may have faded, etc.

Plus, it would really suck for someone to sue you 30 years later for a crime.
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#3 Old 12-12-2011, 06:39 AM
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2nd degree murder and manslaughter both have limitations in California ( i think 6 and 3 years)


It would also suck to be the victim of a crime and not be able to seek justice bc of a limitation. Such as being molested as a kid.
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#4 Old 12-12-2011, 07:13 AM
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Well, in this country we believe it's "better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer." I know the innocent suffer from crime, but due to the need for impartiality in our institutions, we either make policy to presume innocence or to presume guilt, and with the latter more scapegoats get caught up by our good intentions. When you see guilt ignored it's easy to forget that in a different system innocence can be ignored instead.

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#5 Old 12-12-2011, 07:47 AM
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I understand it on non-violent crimes, like theft and things. It wold suck to get charge for robbery or something like that 10-20 years later when you're a different person.

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#6 Old 12-12-2011, 07:55 AM
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Well, IIRC, for abuse of children, it's when the crime is discovered. As for murder, I don't believe there is a statute of limitations.

The argument for a statute of limitations is that charging someone with a crime 20 or 30 years later means that evidence has disappeared, witnesses may have died or their memories may have faded, etc.

Plus, it would really suck for someone to sue you 30 years later for a crime.

Moreover, if our justice system works at all to punish or reform, then the prison/compensation/etc it must occur in a timely manner. Can a 70 year old be "reformed"? Just think about parenting - does it make sense to punish a 12 year old for lies he told when he was 7? No of course not. Better to just move on.
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#7 Old 12-12-2011, 09:38 AM
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And just think about having the IRS come after senior citizens for a tax return they filed in when they were 25.

Do you plan to keep all receipts for your tax records for the rest of your life?
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#8 Old 12-12-2011, 10:23 AM
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And just think about having the IRS come after senior citizens for a tax return they filed in when they were 25.

Do you plan to keep all receipts for your tax records for the rest of your life?


ok. I understand why there are limitation on some crimes like tax evasion and shoplifting. however what about crimes like murder (2nd degree), abuse, and rape?

Rape is a big one because it is often very difficult to report these crimes. how are the limitations decided upon? why is 3 or 6 years the limit on rape, do rapists stop raping after 3 years (no), is the pain any less after 6 years? the limits possibly endanger many people, rapists tend to continue to rape if not caught. these limitations allow for rapists to basically go free after only a few years, free to continue to rape.

as for memory and witnesses, i was attacked in college 8 years ago and i remember it as clearly as it happened yesterday. some things and details we never forget.

also a fan of cold case files (the real ones not fiction tv show), and these cases are able to be determined decades after the matter.
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#9 Old 12-12-2011, 10:31 AM
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ok. I understand why there are limitation on some crimes like tax evasion and shoplifting. however what about crimes like murder (2nd degree), abuse, and rape?

Because we believe that people should have the right to defend themselves.

Imagine we're both in our 70s, and I accuse you (falsely) of abuse that happened 50 years ago. I have a picture showing bruises on my body that I claim is the result of you beating me. You're innocent. But witnesses are either dead or gone. Medical records are likely destroyed or lost. Other records are missing as well. Even the information on who took the photograph and when is likely gone.

How do you defend yourself against such a false accusation?
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#10 Old 12-12-2011, 11:01 AM
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How do you defend yourself against such a false accusation?

The same way you defend yourself if it happened last week. there aren't always witnesses, there aren't always records. that case would most likely not make it to court for lack of evidence.

I present you with the same question however all the evidence is present, witnesses included and records intact.
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#11 Old 12-12-2011, 11:09 AM
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If a person isn't committing crimes anymore, then the only reason for putting him in jail would be revenge.

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#12 Old 12-12-2011, 11:20 AM
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The same way you defend yourself if it happened last week. there aren't always witnesses, there aren't always records. that case would most likely not make it to court for lack of evidence.

I present you with the same question however all the evidence is present, witnesses included and records intact.

There's a better chance of other evidence being found. Perhaps the person didn't have the bruises at those time. Perhaps the time the abuse was alleged to have occurred, credit card information could put you at another location. Or perhaps security camera footage could be found showing no bruisese. Perhaps there was a car accident or some other event that witnesses remember that could have caused the bruising.

Investigating and prosecuting crimes is frequently a time-sensitive task.
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#13 Old 12-12-2011, 11:52 AM
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<snip>... the limits possibly endanger many people, rapists tend to continue to rape if not caught. </snip>

Then they can be charged by the later victim.

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Because we believe that people should have the right to defend themselves.

Imagine we're both in our 70s, and I accuse you (falsely) of abuse that happened 50 years ago. I have a picture showing bruises on my body that I claim is the result of you beating me. You're innocent. But witnesses are either dead or gone. Medical records are likely destroyed or lost. Other records are missing as well. Even the information on who took the photograph and when is likely gone.

How do you defend yourself against such a false accusation?

The same way you defend yourself if it happened last week. there aren't always witnesses, there aren't always records. that case would most likely not make it to court for lack of evidence.

I present you with the same question however all the evidence is present, witnesses included and records intact.

Both situations are possible, but we're talking about laws which have to be applied fairly and equally to everyone. So the question is whether to keep the statute for both cases or get rid of it for both cases?

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#14 Old 12-12-2011, 11:54 AM
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I think a better question is why there is no statute of limitations on murder, but there is on rape.

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#15 Old 12-12-2011, 11:56 AM
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I think a better question is why there is no statute of limitations on murder, but there is on rape.

exactly.
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#16 Old 12-12-2011, 11:57 AM
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I think a better question is why there is no statute of limitations on murder, but there is on rape.

Because it's considered to be worse, I'd say.

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#17 Old 12-12-2011, 12:15 PM
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If a person isn't committing crimes anymore, then the only reason for putting him in jail would be revenge.

If I shoot and kill the person who raped me, should I not go to jail too because I won't commit crimes again? Just because the person isn't committing crimes anymore, doesn't mean they shouldn't be free in society.
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#18 Old 12-12-2011, 12:16 PM
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If I shoot and kill the person who raped me, should I not go to jail too because I won't commit crimes again? Just because the person isn't committing crimes anymore, doesn't mean they shouldn't be free in society.

Well, I'm talking about this specific scenario.

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#19 Old 12-12-2011, 12:19 PM
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Well, I'm talking about this specific scenario.

It's justice. One who takes away the rights of others deserves their rights taken away. I don't think revenge is necessarily a bad thing.
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#20 Old 12-12-2011, 12:26 PM
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It's justice. One who takes away the rights of others deserves their rights taken away. I don't think revenge is necessarily a bad thing.

That makes your previous example entirely okay, doesn't it?

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#21 Old 12-12-2011, 12:28 PM
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Well, and all that "eye for an eye makes the whole world go blind".

And to what extent should a revenge system be used?

You stole my money so I'm taking yours.

You beat me up so I'm beating you up.

I don't like the thought of revenge-incited punishments.

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#22 Old 12-12-2011, 12:29 PM
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That makes your previous example entirely okay, doesn't it?

If you kill someone, even in revenge, you deserve to go to jail (less time though). Wanting someone to go to jail because they took away your rights is reasonable. It's better to let the justice system do its job rather than taking matters into your own hands.
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#23 Old 12-12-2011, 12:31 PM
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If you kill someone, even in revenge, you deserve to go to jail (less time though). Wanting someone to go to jail because they took away your rights is reasonable. It's better to let the justice system do its job rather than taking matters into your own hands.

But is it enough of a reason to kill someone in cold blood?

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#24 Old 12-12-2011, 12:38 PM
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But is it enough of a reason to kill someone in cold blood?

If they killed your child, I would be very sympathetic.
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#25 Old 12-12-2011, 12:40 PM
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Because it's considered to be worse, I'd say.

I dont know many people who consider murder worse than rape, with rape you have to live with it forever, when you're murdered at least you're out of your misery.

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#26 Old 12-12-2011, 12:41 PM
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If they killed your child, I would be very sympathetic.

Is a person whose relative been murdered a good choice to deliver a fair and balanced opinion on what punishment a criminal should have?

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#27 Old 12-12-2011, 12:43 PM
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Is a person whose relative been murdered a good choice to deliver a fair and balanced opinion on what punishment a criminal should have?

Hence why I said let the criminal justice system run its course....
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#28 Old 12-12-2011, 12:43 PM
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Is a person whose relative been murdered a good choice to deliver a fair and balanced opinion on what punishment a criminal should have?

Yes.

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#29 Old 12-12-2011, 12:43 PM
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Yes.

And actually, I agree somewhat with yes.
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#30 Old 12-12-2011, 12:45 PM
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And actually, I agree somewhat with yes.

My thought process is just that, the victim (if unable to suggest a punishment) should be able to have their family do it for them. People who have their children raped and murdered should be allowed to suggest a punishment, and have it taken seriously. They are the survivors and have to live with what happened, and should have a hand in what the punishment ends up being (staying within the bounds of no cruel and unusual punishment, of course).

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