The Senate Judiciary Committee has given approval to a measure to ensure the statute of limitations on “accessory” crimes is the same as in the substantive crime in a particular case. Sen. Charles Wyrick, D-Fairland, is Senate author of House Bill 1285. Wyrick explained the bill came as the result of the murder of a baby in his district.
“At the time there was no evidence that could be used to prove the baby was murdered, but years later the mother confessed and her boyfriend confessed he’d lied about the crime to police,” Wyrick said. “She could still be charged in the crime, but the statute of limitations on charging him as an accessory had run out.”
Prosecutors ultimately were able to charge the boyfriend with a lesser crime, but had the statute of limitations not run out, they could have put him behind bars for up to 45 years, instead of 10 or less.
Rep. Larry Glenn, D-Miami, is the House author of the measure. He said he was gratified to see the bill clear its first hurdle in the Senate.
“This bill basically closes a loophole that allows guilty parties to evade justice because of the statute of limitations. That should certainly never happen in a homicide case—particularly in the murder of a baby,” Glenn said. “If this becomes law, we can prevent this from happening again.”
HB 1285 now moves to the full Senate.