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article imageCasey Anthony acquittal spurs calls for 'Caylee's Law'

By Arthur Weinreb     Jul 7, 2011 in Crime
In the wake of the acquittal of Casey Anthony on all charges relating to the death of her daughter, legislators and the public are calling for the enactment of 'Caylee's Law'.
Michelle Crowder, of Durant OK, began an online petition shortly after the shocking acquittal on Wednesday of Casey Marie Anthony. Although Anthony was found guilty of four counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer, she was acquitted of all charges relating to the July 2008 death of her daughter, Caylee Marie; first degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter.
One of the factors in the death of the two-and-one-half year old Caylee that made this case stand out from other cases where children have been allegedly killed by their mothers was the fact that Casey waited 31 days to tell anyone that Caylee was "missing."
Crowder is proposing that the failure to report a missing child within 24 hours of his or her disappearance would constitute a serious felony. Similarly, it would be a felony to not report the death of a child, whether that child died by accident or some other cause, after one hour of the child's death being discovered.
It did not take long before criticism of these proposals surfaced. The point is being made that someone discovering their child deceased or missing and not reporting that fact immediately, is a very rare occurrence. Will the authorities actually prosecute someone who may have panicked and taken 90 minutes to call 911 after they made the shocking discovery of the body of their child?
Parents may actually believe that their child is spending the night with a friend and that child may in fact be abducted while on the way to that home. It would not be unusual in that situation for the parents to report their child missing after the 24 hour time limit. Will a grieving but innocent parent be taken to the police station and questioned about exactly what time they knew their child was missing?
As well as ordinary citizens rising up after what they see as an injustice in the Anthony trial, some state legislators are planning to introduce versions of Caylee's Law. Florida State Representative Bill Hager (R -Boca Raton) has told WPBF he has already drafted legislation that will close the loophole that allowed Casey to face no consequences for waiting 31 days before telling anyone that Caylee was missing.
Other states such as Oklahoma are also planning to introduce versions of Caylee's Law.
On the morning of July 7, the petition had been signed by over 300,000 people. The online petition can be found here.
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