OTHER VOICES

‘Caylee’s Law’

Posted July 17, 2011, at 8:17 p.m.

Anybody with a heart can understand the urge across the nation to pass some type of “Caylee’s Law” that would make it a felony for parents or caregivers not to report missing children quickly. But wise lawmakers should take a pass on it.

The proposals follow outrage over the acquittal in Florida of Casey Anthony, 25, who had been accused of killing Caylee, her 2-year-old daughter, in 2008.

Jurors didn’t think evidence supported a murder conviction, but the court of public opinion disagreed.

A “Caylee’s Law” has been filed in Florida, and others are under way in about a dozen more states.

An online petition seeking a federal version has gathered more than 700,000 signatures.

But rather than rush through legislation while passions are high, lawmakers should think through this issue.

Such a law would have no deterrent effect. A mother hiding the murder of her child wouldn’t report that child missing just because the law says so.

And some prosecutors say “Caylee’s Law” would address a problem that’s virtually nonexistent.

It’s risky to fashion a law based on a single case. We hope lawmakers think twice this time.

Chicago Sun-Times (July 13)

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