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More thoughts on Caylee's Law

Some are suggesting that "Caylee's Law," which would make it a felony for a parent to fail to report a child missing or a child's death within a certain amount of time, should be federal; that's plainly unconstitutional. A million people have signed the petition, but it's hard to see what they hope to accomplish. Caylee Anthony herself lied to the police and faced first-degree murder charges; the law wouldn't have changed her behavior. Meanwhile, the vast majority of missing-person reports are erroneous or mistaken; blizzarding police with preemptive missing-persons report false-alarms by parents playing it safe to avoid felony criminal liability is going to make it harder for police to find the children who really are missing. And when do the 24 hours to report start running? When you send your teenager off to a weekend debate tournament or camping trip? The potential for abuse in child-custody cases is enormous also: spouses can harass each other while claiming they were only complying with Caylee's Law. So proponents are asking for a draconian law that is only going to snare the innocent, while the overcriminalization makes children worse off. [Alkon; Blackman; Salon; Stossel; Greenfield; earlier on POL]

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.