Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ten Years After - DNA and delayed prosecution

Extending the ability to belatedly prosecute cases where defendants are identifiable by DNA only, in People v. Ramon Ramos (12/15/09) the Court of Appeals held that "The prosecution was not barred by the five-year statute of limitations pursuant to CPL 30.10(2)(b). Although the indictment was nearly 10 years after the incident, defendant's whereabouts were 'continuously unknown and continuously unascertainable,' despite the reasonable diligence of the detectives assigned to the case, until his DNA profile from the rape kit taken from the victim was matched to DNA evidence taken from defendant pursuant to a subsequent incarceration (CPL 30.10 [4][a][ii]; see also Executive Law §§ 995 [7], 995-c [3]; People v Seda, 93 NY2d 307, 311 [1999]; People v Brown, __ NY3d __, 2009 Slip Op 08475 [2009]).

Defendant's belated claim that the extension of the statute of limitation violated ex post facto considerations was not preserved below. Personally, I'm a little jealous of anyone who can put together a 10-year unbroken stretch with their whereabouts "continuously unknown and continuously unascertainable." That's a lot of time in the wind.

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