Geri’s Law Extends Time For Az. Victim Lawsuits

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An Arizona mother whose six-year-old son was murdered more than 20 years ago said she will never feel an end to her grief has won a court ruling that requires the murderer to pay her at least $10 million, says the Arizona Capital Times. Joyce Lefler's severely handicapped child, Adam, was murdered in 1983; in 2002, a jury convicted Harley Spencer, the child's babysitter. Another victim of a decades-old crime, Sherry Alldredge, received a multi-million dollar judgment against her stepfather, who was convicted of molesting her in the 1980s. She was awarded $3 million in compensatory damages. A Superior Court commissioner David A. Sands is weighing awarding each woman an additional $3 million in punitive damages.

The women were the first to benefit from “Geri's Law,” passed last year to close a loophole that prevented victims of physical and sexual assaults from suing their attackers. The law extended the statute of limitations for a number of crimes to one year after the date of the criminal's conviction. The law is said to be the first of its kind in the nation. The Never Again Foundation brought issue to the state legislature’s attention after a client Geri Johnson, was denied the right to sue her molester by the Arizona Court of Appeals because the conviction was seven years after the crime. Less than six weeks after being told by the Appeals Court the law needed to be changed, the bill was on the governor's desk, having passed unanimously.


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