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SB 813

In September 2016, we wrote about California SB 813, a piece of legislation that came in the wake the Bill Cosby fiasco. After a series allegations of rape towards the formerly beloved comedian and actor, the question of statute of limitations regarding rape quickly became a hot button topic.

Despite the heinous nature of any sexual assault, there has been a ten-year statute of limitation for prosecution. It is fairly well understood that sexual assault victims are often reticent about coming forward, which means that if they wait too long, their window of opportunity for seeking justice may close.

California SB 813 was approved and signed by California’s Governor Brown, ending the statute of limitation on sexual abuse, which many lawmakers and activists have hailed as a victory. And by all accounts, it will help countless people get the justice they deserve.

However, the legislation will also give some people who are sitting behind bars an opportunity for an appeal, as they were barred from using sexual assault as grounds for self-defense because of the statute of limitations. The new California law may give people like the Menendez brothers another attempt at an appeal, CBS Los Angeles reports.

If you were an adult in the 1990’s, there is a good chance you remember the Menendez brothers, who were charged with murdering their parents. In the brothers’ first trial, which ended with a hung jury, the defense claimed that the murders were self-defense in response to experiencing years of physical and sexual abuse. The second trial would not go the same way, the two brothers were found guilty, which may have been due to the fact the judge barred the use of the sexual abuse defense. With the passing of SB 813, the Menendez brothers may get a third chance to prove their innocence.

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Ronald G. Brower is a criminal defense attorney in Southern California. Based out of Orange County, Attorney Brower has represented individuals charged with crimes in state and federal court.

Contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower online or by telephone at 714-997-4400.

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