Caylee's Law is gathering momentum. Lawmakers in over 10 states have introduced versions of the law, which would make it a felony for parents/guardians to not quickly report a missing or dead child.
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 Scott Plakon, a Florida state representative sponsoring the bill.
Part of the support for this law is the outrage that Casey Anthony got off (almost) scot-free.
The jurors in the Casey Anthony case said they didn't think she was innocent; instead, there simply wasn't enough evidence to render a 'guilty' verdict.
Indeed, there were no eyewitnesses, no DNA evidence, no fingerprints, and not even a determinable cause of death. A key reason for this is that Caylee's death (or disappearance) was reported so late.
By the time authorities began investigating and finally found Caylee's body, it had been so decomposed that it was hard to glean evidence from it.
Under current laws, there's nothing you can do to Casey Anthony, even if you're a juror for her trial who thinks she's guilty. The best her jury could do was convict her of lying to the police. It didn't matter that she stalled a police investigation or that she partied hard while daughter was dead (or missing).
Anthony's example may also inspire future child-killers to employ a similar strategy of delaying police investigation.
If Caylee's Law were enacted, mothers like Casey Anthony would receive at least some serious punishment.
Perhaps more importantly, a timely police search for a missing (but living) child could mean the difference between life and death.
Of course, Caylee's Law should be constructed and applied with common sense. For a missing child, there is little reason for parents/guardians to not report it to authorities as soon as they know about it.
But for a dead child, common sense should apply. If a child with cancer passes away in a hospital surrounded by scores of friends and family, there is no reason to punish the parents/guardian if they don't quickly report the death to authorities.
However, in cases where the cause of death isn't so clear, or only witnessed by the parents, it should be reported. Most of these cases involve accidents or the discovery of a corpse, in which case parents should report the death anyway regardless of Caylee's Law.
What Caylee's Law would do is punish parents who don't do so, especially those who are trying to cover up their guilt.
Punishment for violating Caylee's Law should also be a flexible tool for the justice system. If it's just the case of a distraught mother failing to report the death of her child for 48 hours -- and subsequent hard evidence conclusively clears her of killing her child -- she should receive a slap on wrist.
However, if it's another Casey Anthony methodically lying about her child's whereabouts and misleading investigations by authorities -- all the while living it up with a wild partying lifestyle (pictured upper left) -- she should receive a very severe multi-year sentence.