Caylee’s Law

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Caylee’s Law is the unofficial name for proposed bills in several U.S. states that would make it a felony for a parent or legal guardian to fail to report a missing child, in cases where the parent knew or should have known that the child was possibly in danger. The bill was introduced shortly after the high profile Casey Anthony trial, due to Anthony not reporting her two-year-old daughter Caylee Marie Anthony missing for a period of 31 days.

Legal status

State Bill Date approved Notes
Alabama SB1 2013-06-10 Punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Connecticut HB 5512 2012-10-01 Public Act 12-112
Florida HB 37 2012-04-06 Punishable by up to five years in prison
Illinois SB 2537 2012-08-24 Public Act 097-1079
Kansas HB 2534 2012-05-16
Louisiana HB 600 2012-06-01 Act No. 454; Punishable by up to 1 year in prison.
New Jersey A 4297 2012-01-05 A fourth-degree crime (felony).
North Carolina HB 149 2013-05-17 Session Law 2013-52; Class I Felony; Punishable by up to 1 year in prison.
Oklahoma SB 1721 Not yet approved Approved by the Senate.
South Dakota SB 43 2012-03-19
Virginia HB 494 Not yet approved Introduced by Richmond Delegate Rosalyn R. Dance.
Wisconsin AB 397 2012-04-09

 

Critics and opponents of Caylee’s Law state various reasons for their opposition. Some critics say the law is unconstitutional in that it violates the 5th Amendment. Critics also claim the law will mostly harm innocent parents. The laws as proposed do not distinguish the cause or place of death, therefore even parents whose children die in the hospital due to sudden illnesses are still required to report the death to the local police within the law’s time frame or face felony charges in addition to the sudden tragic loss of their child.

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