Home > criminal justice, law > Legislating in the heat of the moment

Legislating in the heat of the moment

Here is a letter to the Sun-Sentinel:

In support of “Caylee’s Law” – making it a felony for parents who fail to report a missing child within 24 hours, or the death of a child within an hour – Bill O’Reilly writes, “[t]here are Americans who object to any new laws, believing the states already have enough power.  But when it comes to protecting defenseless kids, that point of view doesn’t wash” (It’s time for all states to pass Caylee’s Law, July 16).

Does Mr. O’Reilly believe that if this law were in place at the time of Caylee Anthony’s death she would still be alive today?  The sad truth is this law is unlikely to thwart the death of any child.  Conceivably, a parent so wanton as to kill his or her own child already knows they’re committing felony murder.  These crimes typically occur in the spur of the moment – leaving little if any calculus of the repercussions.

Legislation driven by passion and crafted under emotional duress makes for bad public policy by failing to consider unintended consequences – benevolent intentions aside.  Let cooler heads prevail once the outrage over the Casey Anthony verdict settles before passing any law of this kind.


Brad R. Schlesinger

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  1. July 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm

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