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Name: People v. Hollie
Case #: A121545
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 01/08/2010

An issue as to the statute of limitations is not forfeited by lack of objection in the trial court, and a time period to initiate prosecution that has been extended subsequent to the commission of an offense will apply if the prior period has not expired at the time of extension. An indictment charged appellant with rape. He demurred and moved for dismissal, claiming that a complaint had not been filed within the permissible six-year time period in effect at the time of the commission of the offense. Following litigation of the issue where the prosecutor argued that the period had been tolled by Penal Code section 803, subdivision (g) [holding that a complaint may be filed within one year of the date on which the identity of the suspect is conclusively established by DNA testing], the court denied appellant’s motion for dismissal. On appeal, respondent argued for the first time that pursuant to section 801.1, subdivision (b), the statute of limitations was ten years, not the six years previously litigated. [After the offense, section 801.1, subdivision (g) was enacted to extend the statute of limitations to ten years.] The appellate court ruled that respondent was not precluded from relying on section 801.1, subdivision (g). An issue of statute of limitations may be raised at any time, even for the first time on appeal. There was no due process impediment as appellant had notice of the issue by virtue of the fact that the statute of limitations issue was fully litigated in the trial court. And a ruling will not be disturbed on appeal if it is correct on any ground. Here, the ten-year statute applied because the revised statute explicitly provided that the extended time period applied in the situation where the original period had not expired at the time the extended period became effective. As this was the case here, the court found no error in the trial court ruling.
Under Evidence Code section 1108, the jury in sex offense cases is permitted to consider evidence of prior sex offenses for any relevant purpose, subject only to the limitation of Evidence Code section 352. Appellant argued that the trial court erred in permitting introduction of evidence of an uncharged prior rape, claiming that the trial court failed to properly weigh the probative value of the evidence against its prejudicial value. The appellate court rejected the claim. Evidence Code section 1108 has removed the restriction against character evidence in a sex offense case and now permits the jury to consider evidence of prior sexual offenses for any relevant purpose – requiring only that the court evaluate pursuant to Evidence Code section 352. The prejudicial effect considered by section 352 is not synonymous with damaging, but instead refers to evidence that prompts an emotional reaction and tends to cause the trier of fact to decide the case on an improper basis. Here, the court found that the the jury was not so inclined to act as a result of evidence of the uncharged acts. The arguments of counsel and instructions guarded against any possibility of improper use of the evidence.