My question relates to legal practice in the state of: California, but nation-wide as well.
Hello everyone. My question is simple, but my story and motives behind my question are not. You may have to understand my story before you can understand why I ask this question.
My question is, how would I go about changing or passing a law?
Now I ask this because when I was 9 years old, my father passed away from cancer. I never new him and he was never a part of my life until I began asking about him at the age of 9. My mother never married or even dated anyone else, so I've never had a step-father or any father figure in my life. I'm 23 years old now.
When I was 9 I finally put 2 and 2 together and wondered why everyone else seems to have a Dad, but not me. I asked my Mom about him and she did what she could to find him so I could meet him and hopefully establish a relationship with him. After having tried to contact him at his last known residence here in Las Vegas, with the help of our postal carrier, we discovered he had moved to Riverside, California, where his family lived.
Mama actually got ahold of my Dad's Dad first. To our surprise, my Grandpa didn't even know about me. Apparently my Dad wasn't very close to his family and that there were many 'dark secrets', if you will, on that side of my family. My Grandpa was very receptive of my Mother's call and said that he'd give her my Dad's phone and address and help us find him, but we needed to know something before going about any of this:
My Dad had been diagnosed with cancer and had been given about 3 months left to live.
I met my Dad. He told my mother, 'Okay, she [me] deserves and has the right to meet me, but after that I just want to be left alone'. My Mom agreed and we would respect his wishes. When it came time to leave, he [my Dad] actually asked us to stay longer. We gladly did. He eventually ended up asking my Mom if she would bring me back to visit again. My Dad realized he made a mistake in choosing not to be a part of my life, but he wanted a chance to get to know me and establish as strong of a relationship possible given the short time he had left. So we went back twice. The second visit, I met my Grandpa and Aunt, who never knew I existed but welcomed me and my Mother into their lives and hearts with nothing but open arms and love. We intended to go back and visit my Dad in late November of 1995, but we received a call from my Aunt on November 4th of that year. My Dad had lost the battle and died.
In an attempt to make an insanely long story short, let me summarize a few things:
- When I was around 13, my Dad's sister stopped talking to us completely. I have NO clue why and still wonder to this day. I assume it's because she's either just plain weird, or has a grudge against me for some reason.
- My Grandpa [my Dad's father] was my everything. He was the kindest, most caring person I could ever ask to have in my life. I will always consider it a privilege and an honor to be his youngest grand-daughter. As I mentioned, he didn't even know I existed or that my Dad had a child until my Mom got ahold of him back in '95, but he was an extraordinary man. He never forgot a birthday, a holiday...losing my Dad was hard but knowing I still meant something and actually mattered to someone on my Dad's side of the family was [and always will be] extremely important to me. I was heartbroken and absolutely devastated when he passed away in August of 2004.
- I've had the honor of meeting 3 amazing men with whom my Dad served in the USMC in Vietnam with. All 3 are nothing short of phenomenal people. I've learned SO much about my Dad from them and all 3 have become like surrogate Dads, if you will. It's an honor to be able to call his friends my friends as well.
Now to the whole point of why I'm asking the question I asked. My Dad had 2 siblings -- my Aunt whom I mentioned is a selfish whack-job, and also an older brother. My Dad was the youngest of the 3. My Grandpa mentioned my Dad's brother a few times when we went to visit him, but all we knew about him was that he was living in an assisted living facility in Riverside. He had been attacked one day in a local park and was 'in pretty bad shape'. I never knew how bad or the circumstances of the attack until about 2 weeks ago, when I discovered my Grandpa's obituary online. I've never seen nor read it before so I also discovered my Uncle has 2 daughters. I'm currently in the process of trying to locate them both in hopes of establishing a relationship with them, and it'd be nice to learn anything they may know about my Dad.
Now after a LOT of phone calls, stress, tears, and digging, I know what happened to my Uncle and what state he's in [both physically and mentally]. He was assaulted in a park in June of 1996. He was not an instigator nor did he try to pick a fight with someone. A Detective I just talked to this morning did clarify that he was nothing but innocent and indeed the victim in this assault. He [the detective] also told me that all they knew about the assailant is that he was a white male with long hair and about 6 feet tall. He was never caught or charged. He's still out there.
The detective also informed me that the statute of limitations for this crime were up. I'm not familiar with these types of laws so I wasn't sure what he meant by it, but now it's very clear. The guy who attacked my uncle could walk into the police station any dad, shout, "I did it!", and NOTHING WOULD BE DONE.
I refuse to accept this and will NOT even try to accept it, as this is UNACCEPTABLE.
My Uncle's current state is very...well, bad, to put it in simple terms. He's blind. He can't hear well, he has trouble speaking, and he has brain damage. I don't know the extent of the damage but it's obviously severe enough to effect numerous cognitive and communication skills and abilities. I talked to him on the phone [with the assistance of his nurse] for the first time in my life last week. Needless to say, he did not sound 'normal'. It was very clear he had some amount of brain damage.
Now unfortunately, I can't help my Uncle. I'm in tears right now as I type this because knowing there's nothing I can do to help him and bring justice to his case...it just kills and hurts me so badly inside. I've never even met the man and I've only talked to him once in my life, but regardless - he's still my Uncle, and I love him. I can't help him, but I can help others and I'm going to do whatever it takes to see that no other family and victim[s] has to go through this.
I refuse to accept that there is NO Statute of Limitations for Murder, but there IS a S/o/L for assault and very vicious, malicious crimes, such as what happened to my Uncle. This is extremely disturbing to me because the S/O/B who DID assault my Uncle may has well have killed him. He's going to be in assisted living until the day he dies. He will never have a chance to live a normal life. HIS LIFE is ruined because of what SOMEONE ELSE did to HIM.
There should be NO Statute of Limitations for ANY assault that goes unsolved, no matter how long. Just because an assault happened 'a long time ago' does NOT mean it's damage and it's victims go away.
I want and WILL do WHATEVER I can to change the laws regarding the Statute of Limitations on assault cases. However, I'm not a lawyer nor a law student, and google only gets you so far. I'm asking for ANY help in how to go about changing this law. I'd like to start in California, as this is where the crime that happened to MY family member, MY uncle, occurred. But I think this needs to be nation-wide as well. Attacks and assaults don't just happen in California -- they happen all over our country.
ANY help would be so very much appreciated. I'm doing this in part for myself, as I now need some way to get some type of closure from this. But the people I'm really doing it for are my Uncle, my Dad, and my Grandpa, as well as anyone else in a similar situation.
Thank you for reading this is and I look forward to any and all replies and suggestions.