WTVY  | Dothan, AL  | Politics, News

Fla. Lawmakers File 'Caylee's Law'

It had all the makings of a media spectacle. A young mother, accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, and then lying to police to cover it up.

Casey Anthony was acquitted of murder but not lying, and she got the maximum sentence - four years behind bars.

It's a punishment more than a few lawmakers call too lenient, and Thursday the committee in charge of reviewing the case unveiled a new bill.

It would turn the penalty for every lie from a misdemeanor into a third-degree felony, meaning up to five years in prison.

"As a society, we do rely on parents, and where parents violate those duties in an egregious way I think it is appropriate for there to be criminal penalties," said Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart.

The tougher penalty would only apply when a missing child turns up dead or seriously injured, and the way the bill was drafted 'missing children' would have had to have been 12 years old or younger.

"There could be someone older than 12."

Tampa democrat Arthenia Joyner convinced the committee to hike the age cut-off to 16. Even though teens may be more prone to run away, Joyner argues there's still no excuse for a parent to lie.

"It's conceivable that they could be abducted or whatever and someone could lie about it, and this law wouldn't be there to cover them."

Many lawmakers have been calling for tougher penalties when parents aren't forthcoming to authorities about what they know, but the committee agrees the current penalty is good enough.

A bill to ban public disclosure of juror names was also filed. Last week, the judge in the Anthony trial released the names of that jury but only after a three-month 'cooling off' period.


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