Statute of limitations could keep untested rape kit cases out of - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Statute of limitations could keep untested rape kit cases out of court

(WMC-TV) - There are new concerns over thousands of rape kits that went untested in the City of Memphis. The statute of limitations could keep many of those cases out of court, even if new evidence is uncovered.

Memphis Police Department recently revealed there were twice the number of untested rape kits as previously thought.

One attorney wonders if testing them will do any good in many cases.

"Defendants, the state, the judges, everyone wants to see the system working and working efficiently," said Memphis attorney Lauren Fuchs.

Attorney Lauren Fuchs says there is nothing efficient about the backlog of rape kits yet to be tested in Memphis and Shelby County, potentially affecting justice in a large number of cases.

Fuchs is among those concerned that, even if tested, rape kit results in many instances could be inconsequential due to the statute of limitations, which in most cases is eight to 15 years.

But, like the district attorney's office, Fuchs says many cases may have already been prosecuted without rape kit data.

"It could have been a situation where they had a confession, or other evidence that tied a person to it and it never had to proceed to trial," said Fuchs.

Action News 5's Jason Miles checked with the district attorney's office Monday about the concerns. A spokesperson said despite the statute of limitations, some rape cases can still be prosecuted, for example, those involving young children.

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