Statute of Limitations for Murder in the Virgin Islands

In the Virgin Islands, there is no statute of limitations for murder, 5 V.I.C. 3541(a)(1), clearly evincing the Legislature's determination that it is within the public's interest to prosecute a suspected murderer even after a lengthy period of time has elapsed between the time the murder was committed and when charges are formally brought. Although there is no statute of limitations for murder, the Fifth Amendment still protects a defendant from substantial prejudice caused by the passage of time. United States v. Marion, 404 U.S. 307 (1971). Generally, statutes of limitations "guard against possible as distinguished from actual prejudice resulting from the passage of time between crime and arrest or charge." Marion, 404 U.S. at 322. "Such statutes represent legislative assessments of relative interests of the State and the defendant in administering and receiving justice; they 'are made for the repose of society and the protection of those who may during the limitation ... have lost their means of defence' " Id. (quoting Public Schools v. Walker, 76 U.S. 282, 9 Wall. 282, 288, 19 L. Ed. 576 (1870)); United States v. Lovasco, 431 U.S. 789 (1977) ("statutes of limitations, which provide predictable, legislatively enacted limits on prosecutorial delay, provide 'the primary guarantee against bringing overly stale criminal charges.' " (quoting Marion, 404 U.S. at 322)).