This is from Sunday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, in a story about a legislator’s proposal to remove the statute of limitations on rape and first-degree sexual assault, which is currently six years. Unfortunately, I don’t know if you can view it online without paying, so I’ll try and summarize.
Anyway, for context, here’s a quote from the state representative proposing the measure, Dawn Creekmore, sponsor of House Bill 1058: “I agree murder is very serious, but to be raped is as serious. I’ve had many rape victims tell me that they wished they had died that day. It ruined their life.”
Currently, murder is the only crime for which there’s no time limit on prosecution, but Creekmore said that should change, as DNA technology now allows older rapes to be prosecuted. However, there are currently exceptions on the rape statute for minors and DNA evidence, although the article doesn’t really go into detail on the exceptions.
Now, here’s a quote of opposition from Jeff Rosenzweig, a Little Rock attorney and chairman of the legislation committee for the Arkansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers: “I guarantee if it passes – when the family is arguing over grandma’s will – someone will say ‘unless you give me X or Y I’ll file a rape charge for the thing.'”
Sigh. OK, he’s a defense attorney-he deals with defendants a lot. Nature of the game. But I doubt that’s really as common as he wants you to believe. His job is to try and persuade. I know false rape accusations are made (although they are very rare) but is that really the best example he could come up with? Really?
Of course it is. Why, now that I think of it, it’s quite common to cry rape if you aren’t getting something you want. For instance, the other day at Chick-Fil-A, they told me they were out of waffle fries. I threatened to accuse everyone in the restaurant, including the plastic cows, with rape unless they got me some. It worked! And when I got stuck in traffic the other day? I called all the people in front of me molesters, and they moved out of my way!
And of course, it’s not like you know, the court would look for evidence or anything. They’d just say, “Oh gee someone accused someone else of rape! Lock ’em up and throw away the key!”
I can understand some opposition to this, but not that one. And I’d love to see some pedophiles who assault young relatives get their comeuppance in 10 or even 20 years. I don’t know how often it would happen, but I would least like to know that option is out there. Plus, if someone suspected of a rape isn’t linked to it until seven or eight years after the fact, I want them to have their day in court as well. I’m betting the victim still has scars from the rape more than six years later. So yeah, I’m all for some version of this law. We’ll see how other legislators feel.