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Editorial: Take a pass on ‘Caylee’s Law’

Updated: July 10, 2011 2:20AM



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 Tuesday’s 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. By Friday, more than 30,000 people had “liked” an “I hate Casey Anthony” Facebook page.

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, as Illinois did with its irresponsible “Drew’s Law,” drawn up to allow hearsay in the case of Drew Peterson, who is charged with murder. We hope lawmakers think twice this time.



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