Connie Leyva, a Democratic State Senator from Chino, says that when the legislature reconvenes in January she’ll introduce a bill to end the 10-year statute of limitations for rape and other sex crimes.
“A sexual predator should not be able to evade legal consequences in California for no other reason than the time limits set in the state have expired,” Leyva says.
Leyva cited a study by the U.S. Department of Justice that found only two percent of rapists are convicted of a felony and serve time in prison.
In addition to rape, Leyva wants to lift the 10-year prosecutorial deadline for crimes that include continual sexual abuse of a child, lewd and lascivious acts and sexual penetration. The bill is being co-sponsored by the California Women’s law Center and San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos.
Current state law already extends the statute of limitations for rape cases involving minors, or when DNA evidence is discovered after the 10-year deadline expires.
Statutes of limitations have been widely adopted in an effort to balance defendants’ rights and public safety. A lobbyist for the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, a statewide association of criminal defense attorneys, tells the L.A. Times that Leyva’s bill could upset that balance.