'Caylee's Law' Petition Goes Viral, Aims To Make Not Reporting A Missing Child A Crime
The petition, which was created by Michelle Crowder of Oklahoma, aims to make not notifying police of a missing child a crime. According to USA Today, it also calls for strict penalties when parents do not quickly report the death of a child.
The call for the law comes in the wake of Tuesday's verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, in which the young mother did not report her child missing for some time.
From USA Today:
"Caylee's Law" would make it a felony for parents or caregivers to not report the death of a child to authorities -- accidental or otherwise -- within one hour. It also would make it a felony for guardians to not notify law enforcement of the disappearance of a child within 24 hours.
The petition has quickly gone viral, garnering hundreds of thousands of online signatures in less than 48 hours.
The brief description from the Change.org posting:
Caylee's Law, contact your Senator and Representative: there should be a new federal law created called Caylee's Law that will make it a federal offense for a parent or guardian to not notify law enforcement of a child going missing in a timely manner.
Let's keep another case like Caylee Anthony out of the courts.
You can read the full petition letter here.
However, the potential law, which is aimed at President Obama and Congress, may not be constitutional on a federal level according to the Wall Street Journal. It seems criminal laws such as these tend to fall under state jurisdiction.
But "Caylee's Law" may at least come to fruition in Oklahoma. Reuters has reported that Oklahoma state Rep. Paul Wesselhoft plans to introduce the law during the 2012 legislative session. Wesselhoft apparently aims for a maximum misdemeanor or a felony conviction for a violation of the law if it is passed.
Update: Lawmakers from four states, including Oklahoma, have proposed versions of "Caylee's law", ABC News reports:
"Wesselhoft, a Republican, plans to propose a law at the start of Oklahoma's legislative session in 2012 that would make it a felony for a parent of guardian not to notify authorities within 24 hours of a child's death. He also plans to propose a requirement for parents to notify runaways under the age of 12 in a timely manner, although he admits having a time table for that is "more difficult because you don't know when the clock starts," he said.
UPDATE: The petition has now been signed by over 460,000 people, and is nearing its 500,000 signature goal.