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Ga Bill Would Eliminate Statute of Limitations on Rape, Other Sex Crime Prosecutions

A bill proposed in the Georgia legislature would eliminate the statute of limitations established for prosecutions of rape and other sexual offenses.

House Bill 1069 was filed this week by State Representatives Scott Holcomb, Debbie Buckner, Rick Williams, Josh McLaurin, Miriam Paris, and Jasmine Clark and would address existing code sections that prohibit the prosecution of rape, aggravated sodomy, and aggravated sexual battery after a certain number of years. All three crimes are felonies.

Statutes of limitation were put in place in part to discourage convictions based on “unreliable witness testimony,” including memories of events that occurred years in the past.

Under current Georgia law, the statute of limitations for rape, aggravated sodomy, and aggravated sexual battery prosecutions is capped from the time the crime occurred, unless DNA evidence is available to establish the the identity of the accused. In the cases of established identity, there is no statute of limitations and cases can commence at any time. Without the DNA evidence, however, rape cases are capped at fifteen years while aggravated sexual battery and aggravated sodomy cases are capped at four years, unless the victim was under the age of 18 at the time of the crime, in which cases the statute of limitations is seven years.

HB 1069 strikes the current statutes from the code altogether and ensures the three offenses can prosecuted at any time, regardless of the presence of DNA evidence.

The measure would only apply to those crimes which occur on or after July 1, 2020, when the act would take effect if approved by the legislature.

It is difficult to compare Georgia’s statute of limitations across states because states don’t always classify crimes in the same manner and some states may impose different statutes for degrees of offenses (i.e. – first degree, second degree, etc). A number of comparative tools and resources are available on the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, website.

According to RAINN, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming are the only states in the nation to have removed the statute of limitations for all felony sex crime offenses.

HB 1069  has been assigned to the House Judiciary Non-civil Committee. You can read it below.

HB 1069

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Source: https://allongeorgia.com/georgia-state-politics/ga-bill-would-eliminate-statute-of-limitations-on-rape-other-sex-crime-prosecutions/

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