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Arkansas Representative Dawn Creekmore is proposing legislation that would eliminate the statute of limitations for rape and first-degree sexual assault. Under existing law, the state must bring charges for rape and first-degree sexual assault within six years.

The only criminal offense that currently has no statute of limitations in Arkansas is murder. Critics of the proposed law argue that rape, although a serious offense, is not as serious as murder. Critics also contend that as a case ages, evidence disappears and the quality of witness testimony degrades. This erosion of the quality of evidence raises the chance that the defendant may be wrongly convicted. Proponents of the law assert that rape is a very serious offense that changes the life of the victim forever, which merits the elimination of the statute of limitations.

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