Friday, July 8, 2011

Caylee's Law

In the aftermath of the verdict in Florida, some legislators have decided that the remedy for those who commit crimes is to pass yet another law.  Since Casey Anthony did not report her daughter missing for over a month, they want to pass a law that makes it a felony if you fail to report a child missing after a certain period of time.

I understand the outrage at the jury's result.  I also understand the human need for "someone" to pay.  But, let's face it, there are times when no one pays at all.  It is a sad fact of humanity.  And in those instances, we should not automatically assume the only fix is to broaden the reach of the government so more people are caught up in the net.

Don't get me wrong.  I understand why people think this might be a good idea.  Although I have not seen the text of the law, what I understand of it seems benign.  However, do we really believe this law would have changed anything other than given her an additional felony conviction?  Would it have saved the child?  No.  Would it have caused one single moment of pause in the mother's mind?  No.  So, in effect, we are passing a law that many know will have no deterrent effect, but we do it just because we can pile on after a verdict we don't like.  It is simply an emotional response to a current event.  That is not how law should be made.

Instead of automatically giving the government more power to control us, how about forcing the prosecutor to put on a better case.  The only acceptable result after this case is for the prosecution team (attorneys, police, investigators, etc...) to return to their offices and figure out how to be so good at what they do that this does not happen again.

That, in turn, will create a better society for all.  That's something one more law will never do.


H/T To Kevin Smith at Ace Law Letter, who made me think.  On a Friday, no less.

5 comments:

Brigid said...

Yes, if someone doesn't follow the unwritten laws that are responsibility, morality or compassion in how they live their life, why would one law of society make any difference to them?

Anonymous said...

This whole "Caylee's law" idea has really caught fire... I just got a request (off topic!!) on one of my groups to sign a petition.

I'd like to actually see a counter petition for all these 'social change' petitions requesting new and important ways the government can 'help' us in our daily lives. So you could effectively negate a petition by signing a counter petition.

Here's the petition link I was sent.

http://www.change.org/petitions/create-caylees-law?utm_source=action_alert&utm_medium=email&alert_id=OmzEuWhjoX_ratbxtlwTz

Be afraid. Be very afraid...

Mark my words. There will be a petition and resulting law in the future that will prohibit people from having firearms in their house if there are 'poor little innocents' living in their home.

I'm sorry for the poor tyke too. However, her mother does not seem like a person who would have reported her missing, law or no law.

Cap'n Jan

seeker_two said...

If we have to have a "Caylee's Law", maybe it should be something like being able to hold prosecutors civilly liable if they completely screw up a case as bad as they did this one.....

Anonymous said...

Could this new law be misused? Hells yes.

Say your child was kidnapped and held for several days. You, not trusting the police to get her back, choose to pay the ransom instead of going to the police. The authorities find out about this, and since they are a bit butthurt that you didn't trust them, decide to prosecute. You get your child back safe but both parents now get to spend 15 years in prison.

The argument goes that no prosecutor would take that case, but you and I both know that is simply not true.

Brass

TOTWTYTR said...

@seeker_two

Just because there was no conviction on the murder charges doesn't mean that the prosecution "screwed up". It means that the defense did a good job at planting reasonable doubt in the jurors mind.

Your idea for a law is no better, in fact, arguably it's worse, than "Caylee's Law". Which like most laws named after a victim, is really bad social engineering.