“The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Is Caylee's Law a good idea?

As pointed out by Maia Szalavitz over at Healthland.Time, when ever there's a big, emotional verdict involving the mistreatment of a child, the understandable, knee-jerk response is to enact immediate legislation that will prevent this in the future. The law's are inevitably named for the child whose murder or whatever, it would have prevented. There's Jessica's Law, Megan's Law, Three Strikes, and Adam's Law, and others. Now in the wake of the Casey Anthony not-guilty verdict, lawmakers in dozens of states, eager to pander to outraged voters, are introducing versions of Caylee's Law which would make it a felony to not report a dead child within an hour of death or a missing child within 24 hours. But should legislation formed in the heat of the moment be adopted this quickly as law? There are unintended consequences of such hastily enacted law.

Megan's Law is intended to harshly restrict any sex offender(even if it's a high school kid who forwards a topless pic that his teen girlfriend sent to him) in terms of where they can live and work. What its done is force these guys off the grid entirely where they are much harder to keep up with.

Three strikes laws are to protect victims from repeat felony offenders. Sounds great, but it was written too broadly and now virtually every state that has a three-strikes law has extreme prison overcrowding because kids who get caught with pot three times are being sent away for 25 years with no chance of parole.

The instances of negative consequences are numerous, but they all stem from politicians' willingness to curry favor with voters by quickly, and without much thought, enacting legislation in the heat of the moment.

Take a look at Caylee's Law. Can all parents be expected to know the exact time of death of their child? What if it drowned in a pool, unknown to the parents for an hour and a half? Caylee's Law as written would make those parents felons. Who would be the arbiter of the clock regarding time of death? Can time of death be pinpointed to within a couple of minutes? Other than the Casey Anthony example of not reporting as missing or dead, her daughter Caylee, how often does this sort of thing happen? Is a new sweeping law necessary? Name one other crime that it would have prevented.

These laws named after the children whose victimization the law is intended to prevent are bad ideas because they are borne out of emotion and very little reason and logic.


David said...

no need for more laws just common sense.

I strongly believe we could reduce the number of laws by 50-60% NOW with little or no penalty to life in the U.S.

Heck, here in Georgia they post references to laws on street signs. By lowering the bar and not requiring drivers to KNOW the laws we are death -spiraling towards our demise.

Ed said...

By their own flawed nature, lawmakers think that they have to always be making laws regardless of their utter innecessity(if I may invent a word).

I love Stossel's idea. For every new law passed by any authority, be it local, state, or federal, they should have to repeal 5 old ones that unnecessarily limit the freedoms of men.

Ed said...

Furthermore, regulators like the EPA, to name the biggest violator of freedoms, cannot sit still and wait for something to happen. They must be constantly regulating, restricting and limiting the freedoms of Americans, even if there's no point in it.

I hate that about bureaucrats in these regulatory agencies. I would love to return to the days when the federal government only operated three months out of the year and the rest of the time they left everybody alone and returned to their own lives back home. That's how our government was designed, not for a lifetime of mooching off the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Yes, new laws are flawed measure of success and productivity.

david said...

actually david said that!

Anonymous said...

Caylee's Law has nothing to do with knowing the exact time of death of your child. It will state that if a child is missing the parent is legally responsible to report the missing child within a certain amount of time.

Ed said...

You are right about that half regarding MISSING children and notification within 24hours, but the other half is official notification within 1 hour of the death of a child. The point is irrelevant in that it wouldn't have prevented Caylees's death either way. After all, that why these silly laws are written, to prevent the crime that already happened, not future crime.