Admissibility of DNA Evidence in a Rape Case

By: Wallin & Klarich

The California Supreme Court seems likely to allow wide latitude for prosecutors to use DNA evidence to extend the statute of limitations in crimes such as rape. The statute of limitations is the amount of time a prosecutor has to file charges against the alleged defendant. If the prosecutor does not file charges in time, then the defendant cannot later be prosecuted for that crime.

In November, the California Supreme Court heard oral argument in a case where a man was arrested for rape based upon a no-name “John Doe” warrant. Prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for a “John Doe” 4 days prior to the running of the six year statute of limitations. Six weeks later, Paul Eugene Robinson was arrested for rape after state computers matched his DNA to the no-name warrant.

Typically, an arrest warrant names the specific person that is to be arrested. However, prosecutors are beginning to use “John Doe” warrants as a way to get around the statute of limitations. When a sex crime is committed, the police collect DNA evidence from the scene of the crime. When the DNA evidence is processed, a unique genetic code corresponding to that particular DNA evidence is obtained. If a person has never been arrested, the state is unlikely to have their DNA in the state database. In these instances, a certain amount of time is required to match a person to that genetic code. Therefore, in order to prevent the statue of limitations from running, prosecutors will issue an arrest warrant for “John Doe,” rather then a specific person, since the person has yet to be identified.

A “John Doe” warrant gives prosecutors the freedom to file charges against the true defendant even after the statutory period has passed. If you have been charged with a sex crime involving DNA evidence and arrested on a no-name “John Doe” warrant, please contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of criminal defense experience in handling similar cases involving DNA evidence and no name warrants. Our attorneys can provide clarity to something as complicated and scientific as DNA evidence. Call 1-877-230-1528 today to speak to one of Wallin & Klarich’s aggressive and experienced Southern California sex crime defense attorneys. Please visit us at

Posted In: Sex Offenses