one of my deputies contacted me about an outcry of a sexual assault that occurred 19 years ago. So I rarely do felonies (never) and he said he thought there was a change in the law effective Sept 1st that applies either to the outcry statements being admissible, even if over a certain length of time has passed OR the statute of limitations on this crime were removed. It may be a sexual assault instead of an indecency case, would that change your answer? I appreciate the help.
There were no changes to the outcry statute this session. Several prosecutor-supported bills that would have expanded the outcry statute failed to pass.
The statutes of limitation for many sex crimes were extended effective 9/1/07; to determine what limitation period is applicable to your case, you first have to decide what offense was committed and how old the victim was at the time of the offense. Then you have to do some detailed historical research, starting with the statute of limitations in effect at the time of the alleged offense and then proceeding forward in time through various legislative changes to that limitation period to determine if the limitation ever ran out on that case. If not, then it may still be eligible for prosecution.
If you need help, you can contact TDCAA.
The statute of limitations for both sexual assault and indecency with a child was five years back in 1987, until it was increased to 10 years effective Sept 1 of that year. The limitations period will generally begin at the time of the commission of the crime, not when the crime is discovered. So if you commit a crime today, you know how long you have to wait before the crime becomes unprosecutable. The legislature can't change the limitations after you commit the crime without violating the prohibition on ex post facto laws.
If you look at the changes made to the limitations on sexual assault since 1987, you'll probably find each of the bills states that the change only applied to offenses committed after the effective date of the bill. For example, in the most recent changes you referenced, the bill states "The change in law made by this Act to Article 12.01, Code of Criminal Procedure, does not apply to an offense if the prosecution of that offense became barred by limitation before the effective date of this Act. The prosecution of that offense remains barred as if this Act had not taken effect."
I think the legislature can extend the limitations period if the limitations period has not expired at the time of the extension.
That's the way they write the saving provisions, but I haven't researched that particular nuance. I suppose the argument would be that if you can be prosecuted now, extending the time to file charges doesn't deprive you of anything to which you'd be entitled, unlike the case when you become prosecutable for a crime that was SOL-barred when the new law was passed.
Lindsey v. State, 760 S.W.2d 649
Legislature can extend SOL of a crime before it expires. But it is also has the power to change the SOL for offenses occurring after the effective date but not those occurring before.
Child sexual assault cases run from the time the child turns 18, not from the date of the offense.
Love the user name, "Jones CA." Nobody will ever figure out who you are!
But that was not the case when these offenses were committed. That's a later change to the statute.
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