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)