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Paul, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 100
Experience:  Juris Doctor from UTulsa. Practicing attorney in Oklahoma. Experience as a criminal prosecutor.
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a witness that was at the scene of a murder took the stand

Customer Question

a witness that was at the scene of a murder took the stand and stated that the victim did not have a weapon. As it turned out he did, this witness took it from the scene because he was afraid his fingerprints were on it and also the prosecution threatened to charge him as an accessory if he didn't get on the stand against the defendent. What is the statute of limitation should he decide to come forward now.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Paul replied 8 years ago.

The statute of limitations will be based on the offense of the crime. For reference, here is the Statute governing limitations in Arkansas:

5-1-109.Statute of limitations.

(a)A prosecution for murder may be commenced at any time.

(b)Except as otherwise provided in this section, a prosecution for another offense shall be commenced within the following periods of limitation after the offense's commission:

(1)(A)Class Y felony or Class A felony, six (6) years.

(B)However, for rape, § 5-14-103, the period of limitation may be extended to fifteen (15) years during which extended time a prosecution for rape may be commenced if based upon forensic deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing or another test that may become available through an advance in technology;

(2)Class B felony, Class C felony, Class D felony, or an unclassified felony, three (3) years; and

(3)Misdemeanor or violation, one (1) year.

(c)If the period prescribed in subsection (b) of this section has expired, a prosecution may nevertheless be commenced for:

(1)Any offense involving either fraud or breach of a fiduciary obligation, within one (1) year after the offense is discovered or should reasonably have been discovered by an aggrieved party or by a person who has a legal duty to represent an aggrieved party and who is himself or herself not a party to the offense; and

(2)(A)Any offense that is concealed involving felonious conduct in office by a public servant at any time within five (5) years after he or she leaves public office or employment or within five (5) years after the offense is discovered or should reasonably have been discovered, whichever is sooner.

(B)However, in no event does this subdivision (c)(2) extend the period of limitation by more than ten (10) years after the commission of the offense.

(d)A defendant may be convicted of any offense included in the offense charged, notwithstanding that the period of limitation has expired for the included offense, if as to the offense charged the period of limitation has not expired or there is no period of limitation, and there is sufficient evidence to sustain a conviction for the offense charged.

(e)(1)For the purposes of this section, an offense is committed either when:

(A)Every element occurs; or

(B)If a legislative purpose to prohibit a continuing course of conduct plainly appears, at the time the course of conduct or the defendant's complicity in the course of conduct is terminated.

(2)Time starts to run on the day after the offense is committed.

(f)A prosecution is commenced when an arrest warrant or other process is issued based on an indictment, information, or other charging instrument if the arrest warrant or other process is sought to be executed without unreasonable delay.

(g)The period of limitation does not run:

(1)(A)During any time when the accused is continually absent from the state or has no reasonably ascertainable place of abode or work within the state.

(B)However, in no event does this subdivision (g)(1) extend the period of limitation otherwise applicable by more than three (3) years; or

(2)During any period when a prosecution against the accused for the same conduct is pending in this state.

(h)If the period prescribed in subsection (b) of this section has expired, a prosecution may nevertheless be commenced for a violation of the following offenses if, when the alleged violation occurred, the offense was committed against a minor, the violation has not previously been reported to a law enforcement agency or prosecuting attorney, and the period prescribed in subsection (b) of this section has not expired since the victim has reached eighteen (18) years of age:

(1)Battery in the first degree,

§ 5-13-201;(2)Battery in the second degree,

§ 5-13-202;(3)Aggravated assault,

§ 5-13-204;(4)Terroristic threatening in the first degree,

§ 5-13-301;(5)Kidnapping,

§ 5-11-102;(6)False imprisonment in the first degree,

§ 5-11-103;(7)Permanent detention or restraint,

§ 5-11-106;(8)Rape,

§ 5-14-103;(9)Sexual assault in the first degree,

§ 5-14-124;(10)Sexual assault in the second degree,

§ 5-14-125;(11)Sexual assault in the third degree,

§ 5-14-126;(12)Sexual assault in the fourth degree,

§ 5-14-127;(13)Incest,

§ 5-26-202;(14)Endangering the welfare of a minor in the first degree,

§ 5-27-205;(15)Permitting abuse of a minor,

§ 5-27-221(a)(1) and (3);(16)Engaging children in sexually explicit conduct for use in visual or print medium,

§ 5-27-303;(17)Transportation of minors for prohibited sexual conduct,

§ 5-27-305;(18)Employing or consenting to the use of a child in a sexual performance,

§ 5-27-402;(19)Producing, directing, or promoting a sexual performance by a child,

§ 5-27-403;(20)Computer child pornography,

§ 5-27-603;(21)Computer exploitation of a child in the first degree,

§  5-27-605; and(22)Criminal attempt, criminal solicitation, or criminal conspiracy to commit any offense listed in this subsection,

§§  5-3-201, 5-3-202, 5-3-301, and (i)If there is biological evidence connecting a person with the commission of an offense and that person's identity is unknown, the prosecution is commenced if an indictment or information is filed against the unknown person and the indictment contains the genetic information of the unknown person and the genetic information is accepted to be likely to be applicable only to the unknown person.

(j)When deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing implicates a person previously identified through a search of the State DNA Data Base or National DNA Index System, no statute of limitation that would otherwise preclude prosecution of the offense precludes the prosecution until a period of time following the implication of the person by deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) testing has elapsed that is equal to the otherwise applicable limitation period.

Perjury is a Class C felony and thus would have a statute of limitations of 3 years.

Accessory to murder could be treated as prosecution for murder and would thus have NO statute of limitations.

Hope this helps!

If I have answered your question, please click Accept. I am happy to answer follow-up questions if you need further clarification.



LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Please understand that the complexities of most legal problems cannot be adequately addressed in this setting, and that I am only licensed to practice law in the state of Oklahoma. Accordingly, you acknowledge (1) that we have not formed an attorney-client relationship, and (2) that my posted reply is general information only that is relevant to your situation and is not specific legal advice. The answers given are limited to the information you have provided in your post and therefore cannot be comprehensive. For specific legal advice, please consult with an attorney who has been licensed to practice in your state.

Paul and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
THank you. THis young man at the time was also taking drugs which is what cause this incident to happen anyway. He actually wasn't involved other than driving the victim who was high. BUt he did take the knife from the scene, it was found in his car but the fingerprints were off. He told the prosecution that the victim had no weapon because they found the knife in his car. He was also told at the time that they could charge him as a accessory if the didn't take the stand and state that the victim had no weapon. the trial was in 2005, the defendent was charged with second degree murder because he couldn't prove that the victim had a weapon.
Expert:  Paul replied 8 years ago.
It is almost impossible for me to say with certainty what the prosecutor could or could not do because I do not have access to all of the evidence/information that he does. That being said, based on what you are telling me I doubt that the prosecutor could have gotten a conviction for accessory to murder.

For your information, I have found a site that is a great reasource on accessory law in Arkansas:

I'm not sure how you are involved in all of this but I wish you the best of luck with everything! Do not feel obligated to click the accept button as this is merely a followup question that I am answering.

Take care!