Andrew Cohen: Statute of Limitations Non Issue in Prosecuting Jaycee Dugard's Alleged Captors

Photo: Jaycee Lee Dugard

CBS News Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen blogs about the statute of limitations in the Jaycee Lee Dugard case.

NEW YORK (CBS) There may be some valid legal defense for the man and woman who allegedly kidnapped Jaycee Lee Dugard 18 years ago. But the argument that the statute of limitations has run out on any prosecution won't be one of them.

Photos: The Search For Jaycee
Photos: Jaycee Lee Dugard Found Alive
Photos: Inside Jaycee's Terror Tent

Whether Nancy and Phillip Garrido are charged with kidnapping, or rape, or child molestation, or some combination of both, prosecutors won't be barred from proceeding to trial just because the initial crimes may have occurred way back in 1991. In California, and most other states, the limitations for these sorts of crimes are triggered when the victim is found and tells the police of the abuse.

The police and prosecutors have one year from the time they learn of the crimes to bring charges. In this case, it looks like the Garrido's are going to be arraigned just days after Dugard was located.

Moreover, it appears as though Garrido was on some sort of federal parole for prior sex crimes, which means that he won't be entitled to all of the presumptions of innocence guaranteed in our Constitution to those not convicted. In other words, Garrido begins his criminal case in far worse legal shape than most defendants.

Judging from the bizarre, rambling comments Garrido offered after his arrest, Messianic phrases that practically scream cultist, I suspect we'll see at some point some sort of insanity defense. Or maybe defense lawyers will claim that Dugard is not mentally competent to stand trial (just like what happened with one of the defendants in the Elizabeth Smart case). And obviously Dugard's testimony will be crucial for prosecutors as they piece together a case.

Do we have a case of Stockholm syndrome, which sometimes occurs between the kidnapped and kidnappers? Or will Dugard's first-hand account of her decades with Garrido incriminate both him and his wife. We'll know soon.

Photos: The Search For Jaycee
Photos: Jaycee Lee Dugard Found Alive
Photos: Inside Jaycee's Terror Tent

September 3, 2009 - Did Nancy Garrido Deliver Jaycee Dugard's Children?
September 3, 2009 - "Twisted": Phillip Garrido Gave Kidnapping Prevention Tips
September 3, 2009 - Nancy Garrido Held Jaycee Dugard Prisoner while Husband was Jailed, Say Prosecutors
September 3, 2009 - Jaycee Lee Dugard's Neighbors Profit From Media Interest in Case
September 2, 2009 - Phillip Garrido's Letter From Hell: "I Was the Baby of the Family"
September 2, 2009 - Police Find No Evidence Phillip Garrido Killed Prostitutes in the 1990s
September 2, 2009 - Lawyer: Nancy Garrido "Misses" and "Loves" Jaycee Dugard's Daughters
September 2, 2009 - Police: Jaycee Dugard's Daughters were like "Little House on the Prairie Meets Robots"
September 2, 2009 - Jaycee Lee Dugard Gives Hope to Parents of Missing Children
September 2, 2009 - Controversy: Jaycee Dugard Daughter's Photos
September 2, 2009 - Jaycee Lee Dugard's Daughters Cried When Their Father, Phillip Garrido, Was Arrested
September 2, 2009 - Phillip Garrido "Tried to Gouge My Eyes Out," Says First Wife
September 1, 2009 - Phillip Garrido's LSD Trips and Sexual Fantasies, How did Jaycee Lee Dugard Survive?
August 31, 2009 - Is Jaycee Just the Beginning? Three More Girls Vanished When Phillip Garrido Got Out of Jail
August 31, 2009 - Nancy Garrido: "The Real Monster" in the Jaycee Lee Dugard Kidnapping?
August 31, 2009 - Jaycee Lee Dugard to Mother: "Hi Mom I Have Babies"
September 2, 2009 - Exclusive: Woman Imprisoned in Coffin for 7 Years Has Special Message for Jaycee Dugard
September 1, 2009 - Phillip Garrido: Bone Fragment Found Next Door
August 31, 2009 - Jaycee Lee Dugard Photos: First Look Inside Her Terror Tent
August 31, 2009 - Cadaver Dogs Search Phillip Garrido's Backyard Hell
August 28, 2009 - Police Searching Phillip Garrido's House for Evidence of Murdered Prostitutes
August 28, 2009 - Forensic Psych: Does Phillip Garrido Really Believe His Kids Cured Him of Pedophilia?
August 28, 2009 - Phillip Garrido: Jaycee Dugard's Girls "Slept in My Arms Every Single Night"
August 28, 2009 - Jaycee Dugard's Stepfather Had "No Idea...We'd Find Her Alive"
August 28, 2009 - Jaycee Lee Dugard Exclusive: Reporter Remembers Girl's Abduction 18 Years Ago
August 28, 2009 - Jaycee Lee Dugard and Two Children Kept in Suburban Backyard: Why Didn't Anyone Know?
August 27, 2009 - Jaycee Lee Dugard Kidnapped, Impregnated, and Forced to Live in Shed, Say Police
August 27, 2009 - Sex Offender and Wife Arrested in Jaycee Lee Dugard Disappearance
August 27, 2009 - Police 99 Percent Sure Jaycee Lee Dugard Found Alive
August 27, 2009 - Tahoe Girl Missing For 18 Years May Be Alive

Andrew Cohen is CBS News' Chief Legal Analyst and Legal Editor. He covers legal issues for CBS News, CBS News Radio, and hundreds of television and radio affiliates around the country. He is a Murrow-Award-winning "recovering attorney" who has provided commentary and analysis for the network since 1997.