Archive for July, 2011

“Caylee’s Law” and other garbage from the Tennessee legislature

Apparently the Tennessee legislature is getting down to the important work of rectifying the great widespread problem of Casey Anthony-type deceptions toward police:
Under the current law, parents are required to report to the police that their child is missing, but do not suffer any penalties if they fail to do so. Caylee’s Law will make it a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a $2,500 fine if a parent fails to report a missing child within 48 hours of the child’s disappearance. Further, if the child experiences serious bodily injury or death during the course of their disappearance, the offense upgrades to a Class C felony punishable by three to fifteen years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
State Representative Craig Fitzhugh said he drafted the bill in response to the many emails he received from concerned Tennessee citizens following last week’s verdict. Many citizens in Tennessee and around the country were outraged by the verdict, believing Casey had to have done something to Caylee or else she wouldn’t have waited 31 days to report her as missing. Naturally, this sparked an online movement to enforce laws like “Caylee’s Law” to prevent another situation like Caylee’s.

How stupid. Just what we need, another criminal law. This “Caylee’s Law” wouldn’t have changed anything in the Casey Anthony case, anyway. What Casey Anthony did (false reporting to investigators) was already illegal in Florida, and is already illegal in Tennessee, and she was specifically convicted of it. And most people who do that sort of thing when the child winds up being found dead nearby would be obviously guilty of murder.  The only reason Casey Anthony got off on the homicide charge is because defense lawyers convinced the jury that she lied due to her craziness, and not necessarily due to any guilt. (Personally, I think the jury maybe could have gotten her for manslaughter, because her lying would at least seem to indicate a sense of guilt, but whatever.)

If you actually do MURDER YOUR CHILD, we do NOT need new laws to punish you for that. If you do not murder your child but are simply slightly insane (like Casey Anthony argued she was), then we do not need to punish you for some new artificial crime for being insane. And a new law is not going to deter your insanity. If you do not murder your child but do lead the police on a wild goose chase, then we already have laws for that.

And under this proposal, parents would have to report missing kids within 48 hours?? From what I have heard, the police do not even take parents seriously when they call to report missing people within 24 hours. So under this proposal, parents would have essentially a 24-hour window in which to report children missing, and if they missed the window and it turns out that the child did come to some harm, it would be a Class C felony (i.e., 3-15 years).

The reason police do not take reports seriously when kids are missing for only a short people of time is because it often amounts to nothing. So what this law would do is further deplete police resources, requiring either taxes or (more likely) more official corruption/graft, in the form of traffic citations to further fund our overworked police force.

It also seems probably unconstitutional (based on the Fifth Amendment) to punish someone for not reporting their own crimes to the police — which is what this proposed law is obviously intended to do.

I get so fed up with the Tennessee legislature. Just recently, they made it a class A misdemeanor to say something OFFENSIVE to someone via Facebook. Then they made it a crime to cause harmful accidents with your car or to run into bicyclists (Have these people never heard of TORT LAW?). Then there was also that big DUI bill they passed effective January 1, which allows judges to steal the driver’s licenses of people charged with (but not actuall convicted of) DUI.

Seriously, we elected a bunch of Republicans because we genuinely could not stand things like taxation, welfare, abortion, etc., and because we were fed up with President Obama and the national Democrats. And then what do these idiots do when they get in office? They make up a bunch of crummy new criminal offenses. These people truly misunderstand their mandate. And although the article quotes a Democratic House member, it turns out that both the House and Senate versions of the bill are sponsored by Republicans. In fact, the Senate version is sponsored by the same idiot Sen. Ketron who made it a crime to say something mean over Facebook. Thinking that we were taking back our liberty, it appears that we have only elected a bunch of authoritarians.