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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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For Immediate Release: April 9, 2009

Sen. Jay Paul Gumm

Senate Votes to Lengthen Statute of Limitations for Arson

A measure that would lengthen the statute of limitations for prosecuting felony arson cases was unanimously approved by the state Senate on Wednesday.

Sen. Jay Paul Gumm, co-author of House Bill 1088, said that improved technology and detection methods are making it easier for crimes to be solved years after they occur. The measure would extend the statute of limitations for prosecuting arson cases from three to seven years.

“As crime-fighting technologies improve, we’re able to go back farther into the past to discover how crimes were committed,” said Gumm, D-Durant. “This gives law enforcement another tool in prosecuting crimes that can destroy families’ lives. It’s important for us to do everything in our power to improve our ability to aggressively prosecute these cases.”

Gumm noted the statute of limitations for most felony crimes in Oklahoma is currently seven years.

“I think this is a much more appropriate statute of limitations for the crime,” Gumm said. “It’s one of the worst crimes you could ever endure. To have a shorter statute of limitations for such a heinous crime is simply not right.”

House author John Carey said it was important for the Legislature to examine any available options to help prevent arson.

“We need to examine any options to help prosecute and prevent arson,” said Carey, D-Durant. “The cost in lives and lost property is too high to be ignored. This improves our ability to guarantee justice for victims.”

For more information contact:
Sen. Gumm's Office - 405-521-5586

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