Monday, May 11, 2015

Statute of Limitations? WTF?

As you all know, I watch a lot of true crime.  I was stunned a while back during an episode of Cold Justice when the ladies were hampered because they needed to be able to prove 1st degree murder in the case or it wouldn't go anywhere.  Why?  Well, in New Mexico, the statute of limitations for 2nd degree murder is 6 years. 


Six years. 

So, if you kill someone in the state of New Mexico, if you can keep the body from being found, or keep the authorities from coming after you for the crime for more than six years, OR you can plan a murder but make it look like it was a random act and then hide it, you're home free.  Congratulations.  You killed another human being - but because you didn't plan it and you hide the crime well - you get a free pass. 

Friday, Cold Justice did an update show.  The officers and detectives in that particular cold case are working hard to get the statute changed.  The House in New Mexico voted to change the statute.  The Senate didn't.  WTF?  In what world does this even make any sense?  Lobbyists for the defense attorneys?  Cutting costs in the judicial system by trying fewer cases?  :shrug:

So, I went online and searched for how other states handle this.  I mean, surely, it's just New Mexico, right?  Sadly, no.  Oh, all of the states have no statute of limitations on 1st degree murder.  Many others include 2nd degree murder in that.  But not all. And I'm like 'someone lost their life, but after a few years, it's okay?'  Seriously, WTF? And don't get me started on the SOL* for rape and child abuse.

Flash forward to last night.  A woman in L.A. was murdered back in 1985.  Her killer was a female officer with the LAPD.  Somehow :scoff: the case wasn't investigated properly until 25 years later.  They used DNA to nail the chick, but... BUT... when the family tried to sue the LAPD for not doing their jobs, they were told the SOL had expired in 2000.  YEARS before the officer was even tried for the crime.

Now, in some cases, there's a loophole there.  The SOL can run out, but you get a grace period for actually finding out a crime has been committed.  For instance, in Michigan, the SOL for medical malpractice is 5 years (or it was), but you get 6 months from the date of discovering the doctor screwed up if you don't find out until after the initial 5 years has passed.  It's not something they make widely known, but it's there. (Again, or it was.)  Apparently, there was no such loophole in CA, so the family of that poor woman got screwed by the LAPD, and then screwed by the state of CA. 

See, this is why I love Wyoming.  There's no SOL for any crime up there.  Now, if only they were warmer and wetter, I might've thought harder about living up there.

I'm actually okay with SOL for some misdemeanors.  I mean, a kid steals a pack of gum and thirty years later, they get punished for it?  That seems silly.  Still, the store was out money, so maybe even after thirty years, restitution should be paid.  I don't know about the little shtuff.  I do know that murder - first, second, manslaughter, vehicular, involuntary - is murder.  Someone lost their life and there should be some punishment for that at some point along the way. 

Of course, I also think 'attempted murder' punishments are totally bogus - especially when the only reason it wasn't MURDER was because the person they tried to kill was too tough to die. So they get a lighter sentence?  Feh.  I've seen too many true crime shows where the victim only survived through sheer will, but their attacker benefited.  That's bull.  But that's me.

What do you think?

*Funny, the acronym for statute of limitations is the same as the acronym for shit outta luck.  Which is what the victims of these untried crimes are.


  1. I'm with you on this. 'Nuff said.

  2. Wow. Didn't know this! Good to know for literary reasons, sucks for real life people. I'd live in Wyoming, haha