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Caylee’s Law Bill Up In NJ Assembly Thursday

Caylee Anthony Memorial
Joe Raedle, Getty Images

It seems like just yesterday we heard the verdict in the Casey Anthony murder trial – not guilty. 

It was a verdict that essentially stunned the nation.  In the case, toddler Caylee Anthony was missing for 31 days in Florida before her disappearance was reported by her grandmother.

Thursday in Trenton, the New Jersey Assembly will discuss legislation called “Caylee’s Law” .  The bill would increase the penalties for failing to report a death and would make it crime for failing to report a missing child.

Under current law, a person who becomes aware of a death by criminal violence or accident is required to report that death to the county medical examiner, the State Medical Examiner, or the municipal police department where the death occurred. A person who willfully neglects or refuses to report the death, or who touches, removes, or disturbs the body of the dead person, is guilty of a disorderly persons offense. A disorderly persons offense is punishable by up to six months in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. This bill would upgrade this offense to a crime of the fourth degree. Fourth degree crimes are punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

The bill also makes it a crime of the fourth degree for a responsible parent, guardian, or other person with legal custody of a child who knew or should have known of the disappearance of that child to fail to report the missing child to the appropriate law enforcement agency within 24 hours.

It’s sponsored by John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), Connie Wagner (D-Bergen), Charles Mainor (D-Hudson) and Ralph Caputo (D-Essex). It’s to be heard by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee at 2 p.m.

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