The murder trial of Casey Anthony captured the attention of the nation last year. On Wednesday it was a focus of the Illinois legislature, which voted on several measures stemming from that case.
Part of the case of the case against Anthony hinged on the fact that her two-year-old daughter Caylee had been missing for a month before that was reported to police. When a Florida jury found Anthony not guilty of murder, people were outraged.
As often happens with such high-profile cases, legislators have rushed to pass laws named after Caylee. Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, is sponsoring one of the proposals.
“Currently in Illinois it’s not a criminal offense if a parent or guardian fails to report the death or disappearance of a child,” Franks says. “And unfortunately it sometimes takes situations like what we witnessed in Florida to close holes in our criminal code, and that’s what this bill aims to do.”
But critics say there are existing laws that cover this kind of crime, like obstruction of justice.
Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, calls the proposal “unseemly.” A former state’s attorney, Haine says it’s just a response to what people perceive as an incompetent jury and prosecutor.
“This is a purely political act, and it will be forgotten in a fortnight after it passes,” Haine says.
— Brian Mackey