Opinion: Casey Anthony’s acquittal inspires possible ‘Caylee’s Law’ in several states

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Casey Anthony will walk free in several days after the controversial acquittal handed down Tuesday that found her not guilty in the killing of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.

Instead of possibly finding herself on death row if she had been found guilty of murder, she was sentenced to four years in jail on four misdemeanors for lying to investigators. But since she had already spent three years in jail awaiting trial, Anthony, 25, is scheduled to be set free next Sunday.

Several states, including Florida, are creating laws that, if they had been on the books earlier, would have kept Anthony behind bars for up to 15 years.

Dubbed ‘Caylee’s Law’, states are considering legislation that would punish parents for not reporting a missing children after a certain time period or not reporting a child’s death.

A bill in Florida would make it a felony if a parent failed to report a child under 12 missing after 48 hours.


Likewise it would also be a felony if a parent or caregiver didn’t report the death of a child or ‘location of a child’s corpse’ to police within two hours of the death.

Over 700,000 people have signed an online petition to encourage such laws to be drawn up.

‘It’s certainly something that we want to look into, because right now looking at the Maryland state law we’re not seeing anything that would fit the circumstances to the degree that we want to,’ Joseph Cassilly, a prosecutor in Harford County, Md., told the Associated Press.

Willie Meggs, who served as a state attorney in Florida for more than three decades, told the AP that the Anthony case was so rare that such a law wouldn’t be necessary.

‘It only applies to people like her and fortunately those are not common, everyday occurrences,’ Meggs said. ‘I don’t think it changes anything.’


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-- Tony Pierce

Andrew Malcolm is on assignment.