Do You Live in a Rapist Friendly State?
1 year ago
A look at which states have the worst reputation when it comes to tackling sex crimes
Hitting the lottery once in a lifetime will never happen to most of us, but Brian Brockington just hit the criminal justice system jackpot, not once, not twice, but three times. DNA evidence has linked him to three sexual assaults but lucky old Brian will soon be released from prison without ever serving a single day for any of the assaults in question.
So is Brian Brockington just one of the “luckiest” men alive? Perhaps. But he had some help. Continuing the lotto metaphor, you could say the powers that be screwed up and now all of us have to pay up, starting with the women DNA evidence links him to assaulting. Or in casino terms one might say the slot machines are indelibly broken and those in charge of the house haven’t dubbed repairing them a priority. As a result we’ll likely see a lot more Brian Brockington’s winning the criminal lotto in coming years. Allow me to explain.
As reported in The New York Daily News, “Brockington, 35, was arrested on rape charges in 2007 and his cousin Rodney Howard, 36, was arrested two years later after their DNA matched evidence from a 1993 gun-point attack on a 29-year-old woman. But because of a police backlog, the DNA evidence from the crime wasn’t processed for nearly a decade — and prosecutors filed charges a day after the crime’s 10-year statute of limitations expired, said Steven Reed, spokesman for the Bronx DA. The DA’s office realized their error only after the cousins were arrested — and prosecutors were forced to drop the rape charges.” Brockington was subsequently linked to two other sexual assaults.
[ALSO READ: Help Make Your Community Safer from Sexual Predators]
The scary thing about the Brockington case (you know besides the fact that a serial rapist will likely soon be walking among us) is that the current system virtually insures that Brockington will not be the last rapist set free by what some are calling a “technicality” but increasingly looks like willful legal negligence. Not simply on the part of police and prosecutors, but on the part of legislators.
In interviews with representatives from organizations dedicated to aiding survivors of sexual assault and improving the criminal justice system’s prosecution of sex crimes, I learned that as the current system stands the release of the Brian Brockingtons of the world is virtually inevitable caused by a nearly perfect storm of the following:
• Only 5 states in America have no statute of limitations for any felony, meaning any felony crime can be prosecuted at any point at which prosecutors believe there is sufficient evidence, even if the alleged crime took place decades earlier.
• Only 27 states have explicit DNA exceptions on the books rendering statute of limitations unenforceable or significantly widening the time frame for such limitations should DNA evidence link a suspect to a crime.