Just because the verdict has been handed down in the Casey Anthony trial doesn’t mean the legal world has stopped feeling its effect. To wit, at least 12 states are considering passing a version “Caylee’s Law,” which would make it a felony for a parent or caretaker to fail to report missing children in a timely fashion. There is even a popular petition at Change.org to urge the passing of such legislation at the federal level.
Not surprisingly, Florida, where the Anthony trial took place, is one of the states in which Caylee’s Law might be instituted.
“It’s very sad that we even need a law like this, but Casey Anthony just proved that we do as unfortunate as that is,” said Florida Rep. Scott Plakon, who is sponsoring the bill in his state.
The proposed law in Florida would allow prosecutors to bring felony charges against a parent or other caregiver who fails to report a child under the age of 12 missing within 48 hours; a conviction under this law could bring a penalty of up to 15 years in prison.
In case you’re not up to speed on the facts of the Anthony case, a quick recap is that two-year-old Caylee, Casey’s daughter, was last seen in June 2008 but wasn’t reported missing to authorities until mid-July. In the interim, Casey insisted that Caylee was with a nanny, who she later admitted was entirely invented.
Casey was charged with three felonies—first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter of a child, and aggravated child abuse—but was only convicted of four misdemeanor charges of lying to investigators for which she received a four-year sentence. She had already served three years awaiting trial, and with good behavior, is set to be released on July 17.
One of the main reasons given by members of the jury that acquitted Anthony of the most serious charges was the prosecution’s failure to pin down a cause of death—something made virtually impossible by the condition of Caylee’s badly decomposed body once it was found in December, half a year after she was last seen alive.
Florida lawmakers have also honed in on that part of the decision by adding a provision to the proposed law that would require the reporting of the death of a child and/or the “location of a child’s corpse” within two hours of death.
What do you think about the idea of Caylee’s Law?