Statute of limitations and the Cosby criminal investigation, P.2

On Behalf of | Jul 9, 2015 | Sexual Assault

In our last post, we spoke about a recent development in the legal situation facing actor-comedian Bill Cosby, and the fact that he may still end up facing criminal charges in connection with allegations that he drugged and sexually assaulted multiple women. As we noted, one possibility is that he could face perjury charges. This is only a possibility, though, since it depends on when a court would consider the statute of limitations to have begun tolling on such a charge.

Another possibility is sexual assault charges. Previously, the possibility of pursuing such charges failed due to the tolling of the statute of limitations. The latter refers to the statutory time limit prosecutors have to pursue criminal charges. Out in California, where authorities are investigating the possibility of such charges, the statute of limitations for rape charges is 10 years, though sexual offenses against a minor can be pursued anytime before the victim turns 28. 

Authorities in Los Angeles are looking into the possibility of pursuing sexual assault charges even past the statute of limitations, though no details have been provided about the investigation. It isn’t clear how successful this effort will be, though it is possible that younger victims in other states will come forward prior to the tolling of the statute of limitations in their cases.

Although a number of states have fairly short statutes of limitations, here in Maryland, there is actually no statute of limitations for felony sexual offenses or misdemeanors punishable by imprisonment in a state penitentiary. There is, though, only a one year statute of limitations for misdemeanor sex offenses.

In our next post we’ll continue looking at the topic of statutes of limitations and how an experienced defense attorney can help a defendant with this aspect of their case.

Sources:, “Judge Explains Why He Unsealed Bill Cosby Court Documents,” Andrew Blankstein, Tom Winter, Daniel Arkin, July 7, 2015., “Former Bill Cosby prosecutor: Deposition could support new charges,” Ari Melber, July 7, 2015.

NPR, “LAPD Says It’s Investigating Bill Cosby Over Sexual Assault Allegations,” July 7, 2015. 

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