The story is well known by now if you have followed the news over the last three months. On June 9, 2008, two year old Caylee Marie Anthony went missing in Orlando, Florida. Her Caylee’s mother, Casey Anthony, did not report Caylee missing. It wasn’t until July 16, 2008 that Caylee’s grandmother reported Caylee the young girl’s disappearance. That same day, Casey Anthony was arrested and charged with first degree murder, aggravated manslaughter, and aggravated child abuse.
On May 24, 2011, the criminal trial began in Orlando. After more than a month of testimony by approximately 100 witnesses, and 400 pieces of evidence, on July 5, 2011, the jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of first degree murder, aggravated manslaughter and aggravated child abuse. However, Anthony was found guilty of four counts of providing false information to law enforcement.
Judge Belvin Perry gave Anthony the maximum sentence of one year each for 4 counts of giving false information to authorities. In addition, he sentenced Ms. Anthony to the maximum fine of $4,000, representing a $1,000 penalty for each count she was convicted of. With time served, and credit for good behavior, Casey Anthony was released on Sunday, July 17, 2011. Although Anthony asked to be immediately released, the judge made his displeasure known: “As a result of those four specific, distinct lies, law enforcement expended great time and resources looking for Caylee Marie Anthony,” Judge Perry declared.
In New York, falsely reporting an incident carries a maximum penalty of 7 years in jail, and a fine up to $5,000. Currently, it is a class A misdemeanor to fail to report a child missing in New York. However, New York State Senator Andrew Lanza is seeking to change this. Lanza is planning on introducing a “Caylee’s Law”, which would make it a class E felony for a parent or guardian to fail to report a child missing within 24 hours of their disappearance. New York Assemblywoman Grace Meng is also working on a similar statute. In her version, it would be a felony if a parent, guardian, or caretaker fails to report a missing child “within a timely manner.”
Since the July 5, 2011 verdict, Florida and more than 15 other states have proposed a form of “Caylee’s Law.” There is also a proposed federal version of Caylee’s Law that would make it a felony to wait more than 24 hours to report a missing child, and a felony not to report the death of a child within one hour. A petition by citizens around the country to create this law has apparently garnered more than 1.2 million signatures.
Contact the Westchester County Criminal Defense Lawyers online or toll free at (914) 428-7386 if you are charged with a crime or traffic infraction for a free consultation to discuss the charges against you and your legal rights and options.