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Stogner v. California

United States Supreme Court
539 U.S. 607 (2003)


In 1998, a California grand jury indicted Marion Stogner (defendant) with sex-related child abuse acts committed between 1955 and 1973. At the time the crimes were committed, the statute of limitations was three years. In 1993, however, California (plaintiff) enacted a new criminal statute of limitations governing sex-related child abuse crimes. The new law permitted (1) resurrection of otherwise time-barred criminal actions and (2) was enacted after pre-existing limitations periods had expired. Under the new law Stogner could be prosecuted for acts committed decades earlier so long as prosecution begins within a year of a victim’s first complaint to the police. Stogner filed a petition to dismiss the abuse complaint based on the U.S. Constitution’s Ex Post Facto Clause in Article I, § 10, cl. 1. The trial court dismissed the indictment but the state’s court of appeal reversed. Stogner then moved to dismiss the indictment, arguing that his prosecution violates the Ex Post Facto Clause and the Due Process Clause. The trial court denied Stogner’s motion and the court of appeal affirmed. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to review the claims.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Breyer, J.)

Dissent (Kennedy, J.)

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