Bill Cosby Case Inspires Colorado Governor to sign new rules on Statute of Limitations on Sexual Assault
By Emily Kelley, Esq.
The statute of limitations is “a statute establishing a time limit for prosecuting a crime, based on the date when the offense occurred.” STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS, Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014). In June Colorado Governor Bill Hickenlooper signed HB 1260 which extends the rape statute of limitations from 10 to 20 years.
Prosecutors would now have twenty years from the date of the alleged sexual contact to file charges. The law is not retroactive, and therefore the two Colorado women accusing Mr. Cosby would still be barred by the statute of limitations.
However, in spite of the legislative intent, the more time that passes before charges are brought, the harder it may be for prosecutors to make their case. Some members of the defense bar have spoken out about extending the statute of limitations. As time passes, so does the possibility of spoliation or destruction of evidence, witnesses disappearing, or other factors that could make proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt more and more difficult for prosecutors. Recently, Colorado caught up to testing their backlog of rape kits – more than 6200 rape kits were untested and sitting in various evidence lockers around the state. It took two years and millions of dollars to get caught up – and that was with a ten-year statute of limitations.
If you or a loved one have been accused or victimized by sexual assault, you need an experienced legal team quickly to help manage the turbulent times ahead. Contact the team at Ethos Legal Services – we can help! Call (970) 233-8915, info@ethosLS.com.