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Bill would remove statute of limitation for attempted murder, rape cases


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - There's no statute of limitation for murder -- and a lawmaker says there shouldn't be one for attempted murder or rapes, either.

Assembly Republican Jim Steineke of Kaukauna says he'll ask his colleagues to co-sponsor a bill that takes away the normal six-year time limit for prosecutors to file charges in attempted homicide and rape cases.

He says a rape case in Outagamie County shows why the change is needed.

55-year-old Roman Zareczny was recently charged in the rape of a 12-year-old girl in 1989, after new DNA evidence apparently linked him to the crime.

Prosecutors said the charge was valid because the statute of limitations on child sex assaults was lengthened in '89. But the assault took place 3 months before the law was passed. And the defendant wants the charge dropped because the statute was not in place at the time of the crime.

A judge will decide that issue February 22nd.

UW-Madison law professor David Schultz said Wisconsin's time limits for charges in child sex assault cases were amended 5 times from 1989 through 2006. He says a statute of limitations is needed because evidence deteriorates and witnesses' memories fade over time.

But Steineke says new DNA techniques can preserve evidence indefinitely -- and prosecutors should be able to take advantage of the technology.