Lying to the police when a child goes missing would be a felony under a measure unanimously passed by the Florida House this afternoon and almost certain to be approved by the Senate.
“Caylee’s Law” (HB 37) comes in response to Casey Anthony’s acquittal last year of murdering her two-year-old daughter Caylee. The House approved the measure, identical to a Senate companion (SB 858), with a 113-0 vote.
“This bill assures that we do not have a repeat of the Caylee Anthony fiasco,” Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, said.
The proposal, crafted by Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, would make it a third-degree felony for parents or guardians to lie to law enforcement officials during an investigation when a child under the age of 16 is missing and is seriously injured or dies. Each count would be punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000.
Under the proposal, Casey Anthony could have been sentenced to 20 years behind bars for misleading police in the investigation into her missing daughter, who was later found dead.
Hager was among other lawmakers who wanted an even stronger law that would have made it a crime for parents or guardians to report a child missing within a certain period of time. But Negron, a lawyer who headed a special Senate committee to look into the issue, rejected such far-reaching proposals because law enforcement officials advised that such a law might confuse parents.