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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Caylee's Law

With the controversial verdict from Orlando this week, a group has started a petition for a new federal law that would punish parents who don't report their children missing within 24 hours. The overview of the law on the website states:
Caylee's Law: There should be a new law created called Caylee's Law that will make it a felony for a parent or guardian to not notify law enforcement of a child going missing in a timely matter. Let's keep another case like Caylee Anthony out of the courts. 
Criminal blogs are raising some valid questions- Josh Blackman's Blog writes:
 Would Casey Anthony really have been deterred by a federal statute punishing failure to report a missing child. Of course not..... So let me be really cynical here. How would this keep a case like Caylee's out of the courts. If a parent actually killed her daughter, do you think she would tell the police so as not to violate some random federal statute. The purpose of this law, much like laws requiring the polices about the notification of lost guns, is to allow the police to easily arrest someone, without sufficient cause to show they committed the underlying offense- whether it is a gun crime or murder..

Simple Justice has equal skepticism:
..If a parent was inclined to murder her child, would fear of a prosecution under this law stop her? Would the sentence be death plus a year? This compulsion to avenge a tragedy involving a child by crafting yet another law to deal with a situation already covered (as in murder) has produced a basic rule that any law named after a dead child is invariably a bad exercise of legislative fiat. It's not the intended consequences I fear, but the unintended ones. And there are always unintended ones. 

 What are your thoughts?

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