I am writing in response to the recent news that Tennessee legislature is apparently considering adding “Caylee’s Law” to the law books. Making it a misdemeanor to fail to report a missing child, and a felony if the child is injured or dead.
Now at first viewing you think “Well, that’s a great law to have!” but the thing is, it’s already a law in Tennessee that you are required to report a missing child.
Further, Nashville/Davidson County Public Defender Dawn Deaner was quoted as saying that in her 15 years on the job she has never had a case where a parent didn’t report a missing child.
The proposed law also states that you must report the child missing as soon as possible. Keep in mind that you are considered to be a child in the state of Tennessee when you are 17 years, 364 days old.
So as a parent, if you don’t know where your 17 year old is at all times, you can be fined up to $2500 and face a year in prison for not reporting them missing “as soon as possible”.
If you dial their cell wondering where they are and they don’t answer, you better file that report with the police immediately. And God forbid they’ve been injured, because if you don’t call immediately and that turns out to be the case, welcome to felony charges.
It seems the law was proposed by two legislators who saw a Facebook campaign and this is their response. Another law, and a useless one at that, since it’s already the law in Tennessee.
When lawmakers start making useless policy in response to Facebook crusades that have been sparked by the Nancy Graces’ of the world the legislature is headed for trouble.
Especially laws like this for things that literally haven’t came up a single time in Tennessee’s second most populous county in 15 years or longer.
You shouldn’t let an inflamed public guide your lawmaking policy or frankly we’d have so many stupid laws on the books you wouldn’t be able to walk down the street without getting fined.
What happened to Caylee Anthony was tragic. But the court did it’s job, as did the legal system and the jury in that case. It was the failure of the prosecution to prove it’s case beyond a reasonable doubt that allowed Anthony to walk free.
There is a reason there is such a high standard for proving death penalty cases. Better 10 murderers walk free than one innocent person be put to death.
And better one law that’s already on the books that has worked for decades in Tennessee without issue stay than a new law be added to satisfy the people who see this as somehow getting retribution for Caylee Anthony.
William J. Le Petomane Jr