Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Statute of Limitations Doesn’t Apply In Murders

Florida Man Arrested For Shooting 26 Years Ago

Each state sets its own statute of limitations on all crimes committed within that state, but there is at least one crime they all agree should have no time limits on prosecution: capital murder.

A murder suspect arrested in Florida last week is finding this out the hard way. Justo Santos was arrested in Miami last Thursday for allegedly killing another man in New York in November 1986, according to the New York Daily News, which broke the story.

Murder Suspect 

According to the news story, Santos was 16 when he allegedly shot Jose Martinez, a restaurant owner. New York police detectives discovered Santos had fled to the Dominican Republic, where he supposedly was imprisoned for murder. The New York case was then shut down, until the restaurant owner’s daughter tracked down Santos using Internet fee-for-a-search databases. Joselyn Martinez, 36, passed along her research earlier this year to New York detectives, who reopened the case and arested Santos. He is scheduled for extradition later this week.

Justo Sanchez had been working in Miami as manager of a janitorial company.

Florida's Statute of Limitations

In Florida, any felony crime that results in someone’s death can be prosecuted at any time.

Florida law provides the following general rules for statute of limitations for prosecution:

A felony in the first degree must be initiated within four years after it is committed.

Any other felony must be initiated within three years after it is committed.

A misdemeanor in the first degree must be initiated within two years after it is committed.

A misdemeanor in the second degree or a non-criminal violation must be initiated within one year after it is committed.

Exceptions to Limitations

But the law provides for many exceptions, most notably when DNA evidence surfaces that links someone to an older case. In those cases, the law states that law enforcement have one year from the date that the identity of the suspect is established.

It also states that: “The period of limitation does not run during any time when the defendant is continuously absent from the state or has no reasonably ascertainable place of abode or work within the state.”

If you wish to consult an attorney regarding the statute of limitations, you may call the law offices of Eric A. Kay.

Photo credit: seychelles88

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