i.e. a specified time limit, after the alleged commission of a crime, during which the accuser(s) must file a claim against the accuser, beyond which time period legal proceedings can no longer commence?
I’m not completely sure what I think, but I lean strongly towards believing they ought to exist.
On the one hand, we as Christians do believe that morality is absolute, that some things are right and some things are wrong, and that crimes ought to be punished by earthly magistrates, period; that such is a big part of what governments are for.
But… I am equally convinced that justice ought to occur in a timely manner, and that if a party is wronged, they ought to act quickly upon it, so that justice can be done sooner, and prevent the delay of administering such justice; and that legislation that has the effect of encouraging action to be taken at an earlier date is wise and prudent. If someone is truly victimized, seeing those who victimized them brought to justice earlier, rather than later, is surely better for victims, waiting until a future date. Why would one want to wait, anyway?
I am also concerned, with the higher rates of false accusations of sexual assault men face these days compared to in yesteryear, of a greater opportunity for injustice to occur, in terms of false accusations, precisely because of a lack of statutes of limitations on such, and here’s why I have such fears: there is usually less evidence as time goes on. Physical scars can and may heal; DNA evidence can deteriorate with time, etc. And so I’m convinced that with the physical evidence decaying, that, as with ‘human rights tribunals’ (i.e. inhuman wrongs kangaroo courts), in which the tradition of English common law (‘innocent until proven guilty’) is more or less overturned in favour of a French civil law type scenario (‘guilty until proven innocent’), where one has to try to prove that one is not ‘racist’, ‘prejudiced’, etc., that more weight may be given to simply the accusations themselves, and less to any possible evidence for them, and thus the defendant may be less well able to defend himself, in such a climate.
Some jurisdictions will punish abused mothers who stay with men who abuse both them and their children, reasoning that while a woman in an abusive relationship may have a choice to stay in the relationship with the abuser, as a mother she has a higher duty to protect her children from harm, and that insofar as she fails in that regard, while she may be a victim of domestic abuse herself she is nevertheless an accessory to the abuse they suffer, because she fails to protect them from it, even though she could, by leaving the abuser.
I think this is fair, and similarly, I think that encouraging crime victims to believe that they are not merely victims but remain moral agents, with moral obligations to pursue justice sooner rather than later, is also fair – and probably fairer both for them and those they accuse than putting it off till many years later.
*Update: from deti, in the comments:
This is relevant: California Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown just signed a bill to end the statute of limitations for rape in that state. That means a prosecution for rape or sexual assault may be brought at any time.
Relevant indeed, bro!