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Old 06-14-2018, 06:37 AM
aldiboronti aldiboronti is online now
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Statutes of limitation and common law

This question was prompted by the report that the DA in Los Angeles is actively reviewing an incident in 1986 involving Sylvester Stallone. I wondered why the Statute of Limitations didn't apply so I checked out Wikipedia. Still not sure of the answer but one of the footnotes mentioned this common law doctrine.

Nullum tempus occurrit regi

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Nullum tempus occurrit regi ("no time runs against the king"), sometimes abbreviated nullum tempus, is a common law doctrine originally expressed by Bracton in his De legibus et consuetudinibus Angliae in the 1250s. It states that the crown is not subject to statutes of limitations.[1] This means that the crown can proceed with actions that would be barred if brought by an individual due to the passage of time. The doctrine is still in force in common law systems today. In republics, it is often referred to as "nullum tempus occurrit reipublicae"
"The doctrine is still in force in common law systems today." But how does that work with a Statute of Limitations? Does written law trump common law or vice versa?
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:00 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aldiboronti View Post



"The doctrine is still in force in common law systems today." But how does that work with a Statute of Limitations? Does written law trump common law or vice versa?
This is one of the first things taught in law school—statutory law (that is, legislature-created law) trumps common law (judge-created law)
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:23 AM
Quercus Quercus is offline
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As noted, written statute always trumps common law.

Additionally, and I'll eagerly accept correction from an expert, I don't think that in the U.S. there's any statute of limitations inherited from common law: they're all specifically set by statute, so it doesn't really matter what common law thinks.

Finally, it's very clear in practice that statutes of limitations, as set out in the relevant criminal and/or civil laws, do apply to governments in the U.S.

In the Stallone case, it depends on what crime they're investigating, what the laws lay out as the statute of limitations (if any) for that particular crime, and what those laws use to start the statute of limitations running (it could be the act, or the discovery of the act by authorities, or possibly something else).
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Old 06-14-2018, 09:40 AM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Statutes of limitation and common law

It's a variant on sovereign immunity, which I understand still applies in the US under that name?

In practice, what it means is that the Legislature has to turn its mind to the issue of sovereign immunity when it passes a law. Should this law apply to the government? If so, language is put into the statute to say so, eliminating sovereign immunity for that statute.

In Canada, the phrase used in statutes is "This Act binds the Crown." If a statute has that phrase in it, Crown immunity does not apply.

For example, the Ontario Limitations Act , s. 3, states that the Crown is bound by the Act. Therefore civil limitation periods run against the Crown in Ontario.

https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/...rch=e+laws#BK3

Last edited by Northern Piper; 06-14-2018 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 06-14-2018, 10:32 AM
MikeS MikeS is offline
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Under California law, there is no statute of limitations for aggravated rape; and a rape is aggravated if (among other things) it involves more than one assailant.

What's really not clear to me is why a DA in Los Angeles is investigating an incident alleged to have taken place in Nevada.

Last edited by MikeS; 06-14-2018 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 06-15-2018, 01:52 PM
MikeS MikeS is offline
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What's really not clear to me is why a DA in Los Angeles is investigating an incident alleged to have taken place in Nevada.
The Deadline article on the story makes it seem like the two incidents are separate. If so, that would answer my question.
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Old 06-15-2018, 02:44 PM
Tim@T-Bonham.net Tim@T-Bonham.net is offline
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Many states have laws that either eliminate the Statue of Limitations entirely for sex crimes, or extend it a lot. For example, some states deal with 'suppressed memory' by saying that the Statute of Limitations is X years, but it only starts running when the victim becomes aware that they were sexually violated. That seems like a big enough loophole to effectively remove the limitations.
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Old 06-15-2018, 03:26 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Originally Posted by MikeS View Post
Under California law, there is no statute of limitations for aggravated rape; and a rape is aggravated if (among other things) it involves more than one assailant.

What's really not clear to me is why a DA in Los Angeles is investigating an incident alleged to have taken place in Nevada.
But there should be. Witness statements are worthless more than a few years old, and ten years- more likely to be wrong than right.

Publicity.
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Old 06-15-2018, 04:35 PM
dorvann dorvann is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim@T-Bonham.net View Post
Many states have laws that either eliminate the Statue of Limitations entirely for sex crimes, or extend it a lot. For example, some states deal with 'suppressed memory' by saying that the Statute of Limitations is X years, but it only starts running when the victim becomes aware that they were sexually violated. That seems like a big enough loophole to effectively remove the limitations.
I believe there was a Supreme Court decision that ruled an extended Statute of Limitations cannot be applied retroactively to any crime whose time had ran out under the previous Statute of Limitations because that be a violation of the United States Constitution's ban on ex post facto laws. I'm not sure if this applies to the Stallone case though.

For example, if some one committed a crime in 1980 and the Statute of Limitations ran out in 1986. The legislature decided to extend the Statute of Limitations 50 years in 1990. They can't apply the new limitation to the old crime; only on crimes that haven't had their time run out or any future crimes.

Last edited by dorvann; 06-15-2018 at 04:38 PM.
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