Topic:
TERRORISM; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE; STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS;
Location:
TERRORISM;
Scope:
Federal laws/regulations;

OLR Research Report


February 27, 2002

 

2002-R-0260

RETROACTIVITY OF USA PATRIOT ACT'S STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

 

By: Susan Price-Livingston, Associate Attorney

You asked whether the federal USA PATRIOT Act provisions extending the statute of limitations for prosecuting terrorism crimes apply to offenses committed before the act's passage.

Most non-capital federal offenses are subject to a five-year statute of limitations, but under prior law many terrorism offenses were subject to an eight-year statute of limitations (18 USC 3286). Section 809 of the PATRIOT Act (P.L. 107-56) expands the list of terrorism crimes subject to the eight-year limitation period. It also eliminates the statute of limitations for terrorism offenses that resulted in, or created a foreseeable risk of, death or serious bodily injury to another person. The act specifies that these changes apply to prosecutions of offenses committed before, on, or after its enactment on October 26, 2001.

A person commits the federal crime of terrorism when he commits any one of 50 specified federal crimes intending to (1) influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion or (2) retaliate against government conduct (18 USC 2332b(g)(5)), as amended by Section 808 of the act (copies enclosed).

SP-L:ro