Saturday, July 20, 2024

Louisiana Supreme Court reverses decision on sex abuse law

by BIZ Magazine

(The Center Square) — The Louisiana Supreme Court overturned its previous decision that struck down a 2021 law that gives victims of sexual abuse more time to sue their alleged abusers.

The state’s highest court handed down the ruling late Wednesday, which put back into effect the so-called “lookback window” law that passed the Legislature unanimously and was signed into law by then-Gov. John Bel Edwards in 2021.

Under previous law, the victim had until age 18 to file suit against their alleged abuser.

The Louisiana Supreme Court has reversed its previous decision which struck down the state’s ‘lookback window’ law, which passed unanimously through the legislature and was signed by the governor in 2021.

Attorney General Liz Murrill, who filed a rehearing application immediately after that decision was made by the justices to strike down the law, praised the ruling.

“These child victims of sexual abuse deserve their day in court,” Murrill said in a news release. “This is a win for victims of sexual assault and those who have been silenced for far too long. A great day for Louisiana. It’s very rare for the Supreme Court to grant rehearing and reverse itself.

“I’m grateful to the Court for giving such careful attention to an issue that is so deeply troubling and personal for so many victims of abuse.”

In a post to X, the author of the original legislation, Rep. Jason Hughes, D-New Orleans, also praised the decision.

“Today, the LA Supreme Court reversed its previous decision,” Hughes said. “Survivors of child sexual abuse will FINALLY get a chance at justice!”

In the original ruling, the justices had issues with the law due to its retroactive effect and its affect on due process.

In a dissent, Associate Justice James Genovese wrote “This ruling on rehearing elevates a legislative act over a constitutional right and obliterates the vested right of accrued prescription, which has been precedent in our law for decades.”

He also stressed in his dissent that his opposition to the law was based on its legal ramifications and he was in no way condoning sexual abuse.

He also wrote that “I am very concerned about this majority ruling on rehearing granting unbridled authority to the legislature to enact legislation which supersedes and tramples our constitution. I find such action to be a violation of the separation of powers doctrine. That is a slippery slope indeed.”

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