Reacting to the Casey Anthony case, more than 200,000 people have signed an online petition calling for a federal “Caylee’s Law” that would make it a felony for a parent to fail to notify police of a child’s disappearance or death. reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Prosecutors argued that it took a month before Casey Anthony reported Caylee missing, from June to July 2008, and even then it wasn’t the girl’s mother who reported it but her grandmother.
The call for “Caylee’s Law” on the social activist website change.org, is an expected, knee-jerk reaction to an unpopular verdict, one professor said, but could prove popular among law enforcement officers and the community. In Pennsylvania, concealing a child’s death is already against the law and is graded as a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to five years in prison. Although there is no state law specifically making it illegal for failing to report a child missing, endangering the welfare of children, also a first-degree misdemeanor, could apply. “If you ask most parents, it would be common sense,” Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said. “But people have distractions in their lives. Some people just aren’t good parents.”