Commonwealth v. Lewis

409 N.E.2d 771



The old rule that a death must occur within a year and a day of the criminal act for a homicide to be charged, continues to apply to acts antedating a declaration by the court that the rule was vulnerable.


The defendants were indicted on homicide charges. They argued that the charges should be dismissed because the victims did not die within one year and one day of the criminal acts. The trial court sought a determination from a higher court as to the validity of the “year and a day” rule.


Is the “year and a day” rule still valid?




The court held that the “year and a day” rule was no longer valid because medical advancements have made it possible to determine the cause of death, even after the year and a day period. It further stated that the old rule would only apply to criminal acts that were committed before the decision.

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