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Defenses – Statute of Limitations, § 939.74(1) – “DNA Complaint” as Satisfying

State v. Bobby R. Dabney, 2003 WI App 108, PFR filed 5/23/03
For Dabney: Lynn E. Hackbarth

Issue/Holding:

¶21. Here, it is undisputed that the DNA profile complaint and warrant were issued three days before the statute of limitations expired. We have already concluded that the complaint and warrant in this case were sufficient to commence the prosecution. Thus, the case was timely filed. Nonetheless, we address briefly, Dabney’s contentions that the State’s actions in this case effectively nullify the statute of limitations.¶22. First, we note that the protection afforded by the statute of limitations “is not a fundamental right” of a criminal defendant. State v. Sher, 149 Wis. 2d 1, 13, 437 N.W.2d 878 (1989). Rather, it is a statutorily created right, whose primary purpose is to “protect the accused from having to defend himself against charges of remote misconduct.” John v. State, 96 Wis. 2d 183, 194, 291 N.W.2d 502 (1980).

¶23. That purpose has not been violated here. The charged crimes were committed December 7, 1994, and the arrest warrant was issued on December 4, 2000. This was less than six years after the crimes. The legislature has determined that six years is not so “remote” as to negatively prejudice the defendant’s rights.

¶24. Second, the legislature has addressed this issue and passed legislation addressing these concerns, (n)ewly enacted Wis. Stat. § 939.74(2d) .…

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