45 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 115 (2008)
Unraveling Criminal Statutes of Limitations

handle is hein.journals/amcrimlr45 and id is 117 raw text is: UNRAVELING CRIMINAL STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS
Lindsey Powell*
INTRODUCTION  ...........................................             115
I. TIHE GENERAL RULE AND ITS EXCEPTIONS .....................       121
A. A Brief History and Overview of the General Rule ..........    121
B. The New Trend Toward Exceptions .....................         124
II. REASONS FOR THE RULE AND ITS EXCEPTIONS ..................       128
A. Traditional Rationales ...............................         129
B. Fitting the Changing Rule to Traditional Rationales? ........  131
C. Explaining the Shift: Retributivism and Victims' Rights .......  135
I. A RULE-BASED APPROACH TO RESTORING THE BALANCE ............ 140
A. Disadvantages Typical of a Rule-Based Approach ...........     140
B. Additional Disadvantages of a Rule-Based Approach to
Preindictment Delay  ................................         143
IV. AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO RESTORING THE BALANCE ........... 145
A. Advantages and Disadvantages of a Hybrid Approach ........    145
B. Learning from Existing Models ........................        147
C. A Proposal for Going Forward ........................         149
CONCLUSION  . ............................................            153
APPENDIX: TInELINE OF THE RULE AND ITS EXCEPTIONS ................. 154
INTRODUCTION
Criminal statutes of limitations, which have been a hallmark of American law
since the Founding,1 are meant to represent legislative assessments of relative
interests of the State and the defendant in administering and receiving justice.2
Without interfering unduly with the state's ability to prosecute offenses, limita-
tions periods are designed to further two sets of interests. First, they are intended to
promote fairness by protect[ing] individuals from having to defend themselves
against charges when the basic facts may have become obscured by the passage of
* J.D., Stanford Law School. Much thanks to Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Barbara Fried, Tom Grey, Joshua Kaul,
Bob Weisberg, and the members of Stanford's Legal Studies Workshop for their suggestions and encouragement.
 2008, Lindsey Powell.
1. Act of Apr. 30, 1790, ch. 9,  32, 1 Stat. 112, 119 (providing a three-year limitations period for capital
offenses other than forgery and willful murder and a two-year period for most other offenses). Such statutes also
existed in the colonies. See W.jAm H. WntrrmoRE, COLONIAL LAWS OF MASSACHUSETTS 163 (1889) (noting that
Massachusetts provided a one-year statute of limitations for most crimes as early as 1652).
2. United States v. Marion, 404 U.S. 307, 322 (1971).

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