Jones bills would protect children and extend statute of limitations for violent crimes
LANSING— Legislation that would increase protections of foster children against sexual abuse and lengthen the statute of limitations for kidnapping, attempted murder and manslaughter was approved by the Michigan House of Representatives on Thursday and will soon be on the governor’s desk, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.
“Both of these measures will allow for increased safety and protection while allowing up to two decades for violent crimes to be solved,” said Jones, R-Grand Ledge.
Senate Bill 726, also known as D’Annuzio’s Law, mandates that the ten year statute of limitations for kidnapping, attempted murder and manslaughter will not start until a suspect is known.
In 2000, Brandon D’Annunzio was at Buffalo Wild Wings in East Lansing attending a bachelor party. He left the bar alone and was approached by two men and a woman. One of the men allegedly punched D’Annunzio in the face, causing him to fall backward and crack his head on the concrete curb. Ten days later, D’Annunzio was pronounced dead due to blunt force trauma to the head.
In 2011, one year past the current statute of limitations for the crime, a tipster notified police of the identity of the suspect after reading a news article about the anniversary of D’Annunzio’s death.
“The person who committed this crime will never be punished, and the victim’s family will never know all of the facts,” said Jones. “Extending the statute of limitations for specific crimes will give police officers and witnesses twenty years to discover facts or to come forward.”
Senate Bill 934 would close a loophole in state law to prevent foster parents from legally having sexual intercourse with their foster children.
The Prosecutors Association of Michigan made Jones aware of this loophole due to a Barry County case.
Recently, a foster parent in Barry County was accused of having sex with his 16- and 17 –year- olds in his foster home. Some charges against the suspect could not be brought because the victims were scared to say “no” to the subject.
“Foster homes need to be a safe environment for children,” said Jones. “This horrific case brought a major loophole to the Legislature’s attention. Once my bill is signed into law, this loophole will be closed.”