In what may be one of the most bizarre gaps of logic offered as if it makes any sense at all, Amanda Marcotte at Slate’s XX Factor contends that the statute of limitations for rape should be eliminated.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Democratic candidate for Texas governor who rose to national fame last year by spearheading a fight against a draconian abortion bill, held a press conference Wednesday to highlight her ideas on how to fight sexual assault. Talking about her legislative efforts to process the estimated backlog of 16,000 untested rape kits in the state, Davis said she wanted to take the solution a step further. She proposed lifting the statute of limitations for sexual assault entirely, in no small part to make sure that rapists don’t escape justice just because a rape kit lingered untested for so long that the window for prosecution closed.
Texas has a ten-year statute of limitations for rape, already substantially longer than most states, but that’s not good enough. After all, they have a backlog of untested rape kits, and can’t possibly get to them within ten years.
One solution, of course, would be for the state to test the friggin kits timely. You know, do the job right? But no, that would cost money. That would be hard on the state. Doing things right is not a solution that brings a smile to politicians faces, as it suggests they are doing things wrong, which suggests they suck at running government. That would never do.
Masters’ case is just as much about evolving technology as it is about the bureaucratic backlog of unprocessed rape kits, but with 16,000 untested kits to go through, the concern that some rapists will go free just because no one bothered to process the kits in time is a very serious one.
Feminists are not big fans of Blackstone’s ratio. At least not when it comes to one of their sacred cow crimes. Drugs? Different. Murder? Who cares. But rape? Let no rapist go free. None. And throw a few who aren’t rapists in there for good measure. Even if they didn’t rape, they’re men, so no doubt they did something to deserve to be imprisoned. Regardless, they are perfectly happy to suffer some collateral damage in the war against men, because rape culture.
Obviously, in an ideal world, rape kits would be processed quickly, and no rape cases would sit around unsolved for 10 or 20 years because of bureaucratic morass. But as the Cleveland example shows, that is exactly what has been happening. Lifting or at least extending the statute of limitations is a necessary fix to deal with a problem that has been going on for far too long.
The internal references to Marcotte’s post are to the anecdotal stories invariably relied upon to juice up the emotions of her readers. They are as tuned into their feelings as they are disdainful of reason.
So there is a bureaucratic morass, and the solution is the evisceration of defendants’ rights. Not merely helpful to forfeit the statute of limitations on the altar of government incompetence, but necessary. The worse the incompetence, the more necessary “to deal with a problem that has been going on for far too long.” But now, it’s important. And now, it comes at the expense of defendants. Cool story, Amanda.
I searched Marcotte’s post carefully for an explanation of why statutes of limitations matter, and it was nowhere to be found. Some will understand that they exist to give the accused due process, the ability to find evidence and witnesses to challenge the accusation of a moment in time a decade earlier. Others will see it as another legal technicality that lets rapists go free.
There is strong sympathy for the accusers, rape victims, bolstered by a well-organized feminist machine. Sure, they share liberal concerns for the rights of the accused, except when it involves women, when suddenly all concern for rights disappears like magic. There is no advocacy group for accused rapists to counter the hype.
The organized criminal defense bar is deeply conflicted on matters like this. While it may well appreciate the constitutional dimensions of statutes of limitations, it also shares the sympathy toward feminist issues, as liberalism runs deep within the group. The response, if any, will be tepid at best. After all, it’s hard to pick between sacred cow beliefs.
Those who think that such crazy, outlier notions as the evisceration of constitutional rights, statutes of limitations, are so insanely disconnected from the failure of government to do its job in a timely and competent manner, could never be adopted by rational people, are failing to see the trend. Nobody seems capable or willing to give any of this deep thought, when there is a Menckian solution in the offing.
After all, it’s hard to make the government do its job properly, and it’s counterproductive to offend the very government officials one needs to accomplish the only outcome that really matters: convicting every person accused of rape. It’s so much easier to just eliminate the statute of limitations. And there is nobody pointing out that this is both irrational and fundamentally wrong. Almost nobody.