Stogner v. California, 539 U.S. 607, 4 (2003)

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next



Opinion of the Court

out the new statute allowing revival of the State's cause of action, California could not have prosecuted Stogner. The statute of limitations governing prosecutions at the time the crimes were allegedly committed had set forth a 3-year limitations period. And that period had run 22 years or more before the present prosecution was brought.

Stogner moved for the complaint's dismissal. He argued that the Federal Constitution's Ex Post Facto Clause, Art. I, 10, cl. 1, forbids revival of a previously time-barred prosecution. The trial court agreed that such a revival is unconstitutional. But the California Court of Appeal reversed, citing a recent, contrary decision by the California Supreme Court, People v. Frazer, 21 Cal. 4th 737, 982 P. 2d 180 (1999), cert. denied, 529 U. S. 1108 (2000). Stogner then moved to dismiss his indictment, arguing that his prosecution is unconstitutional under both the Ex Post Facto Clause and the Due Process Clause, Amdt. 14, 1. The trial court denied Stogner's motion, and the Court of Appeal upheld that denial. Stogner v. Superior Court, 93 Cal. App. 4th 1229, 114 Cal. Rptr. 2d 37 (2001). We granted certiorari to consider Stogner's constitutional claims. 537 U. S. 1043 (2002).


The Constitution's two Ex Post Facto Clauses prohibit the Federal Government and the States from enacting laws with certain retroactive effects. See Art. I, 9, cl. 3 (Federal Government); Art. I, 10, cl. 1 (States). The law at issue here created a new criminal limitations period that extends the time in which prosecution is allowed. It authorized criminal prosecutions that the passage of time had previously barred. Moreover, it was enacted after prior limitations periods for Stogner's alleged offenses had expired. Do these features of the law, taken together, produce the kind of retroactivity that the Constitution forbids? We conclude that they do.

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007