17 January 2006

Say goodbye to the "year-and-a-day rule"...

A Vermont judge scrapped an ancient legal ruling that a person can't be charged with homicide if the victim dies more than a year and a day after the attack. The result is that a murder charge will stand against a man charged with a 1971 shooting that caused the death of another more than two years later.

3 comments:

Ken Lammers said...

The year and a day rule has been dying aout all over. The reason given is usually that modern medicine is so good that things which would have killed someone within the time limit don't always kill so fast.

KipEsquire said...

"The year and a day rule has been dying out all over."

As are criminal statutes of limitations, especially where DNA evidence is available.

markm said...

Was the original reason for the year and a day rule that after such a long time, the causation chain was inevitably too tenuous for proof beyond a reasonable doubt? After all, in the 19th century and earlier it wasn't all that uncommon to hear that a young person you had last seen healthy and uninjured was dead within a year or two. Also, medical science was pretty primitive. Both these factors have changed, particularly the quality of the science.