ATLANTA -- Inspired by national headlines, Lilburn Rep. B.J. Pak has proposed legislation known as "Caylee Anthony's Law."
Inspired by the Florida case of the missing toddler, Pak, an attorney, wants a law that would require a parent or guardian to report the disappearance or death of a child in a timely manner.
"Many, including myself, were outraged by the outcome of Casey Anthony's trial," Pak said. "We felt that justice was never served for the death of Caylee. We have reviewed Georgia's laws and determined that HB 974 is needed to avoid such incidents of injustice. HB 974 is narrowly tailored to provide adequate deterrence to direct caregivers from acts of criminal neglect."
The proposal includes two measures. The first would require a parent, guardian or otherwise person in custody of a child under the age of 13 to maintain contact with the child or to verify the whereabouts and safety of the child. If an 18-hour period goes by without making such verification or contact, the individual responsible for the child would be required to report the child as missing to a law enforcement agency. any willful, knowing, or criminally negligent failure to report the child as missing within 18 hours would constitute the offense of failure to report a missing child and would be punished by imprisonment between one and 10 years.
The second measure would require a parent, guardian, or other person having immediate custody of a child under the age of 16 to report the death of such child to a law enforcement agency, coroner, or medical examiner within 12 hours of the death. An intentional failure to report such death would constitute the felony offense of concealing the death of a person, which would be punished by imprisonment for one to 10 years, a fine of up to 5,000, or both, a press release said.
Legislation similar to HB 974 has been introduced in at least 14 states, including Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee, the release said. Elected officials in another 12 states plan to introduce such legislation.
"Caylee's law" legislation was developed after Casey Anthony was acquitted of charges that she murdered her daughter Caylee in July 2011.
The 2-year-old was reported missing in July of 2008, a month after she was last seen. During the trial, Anthony's lawyer claimed that Caylee accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool.