Archive for Friday, July 8, 2011

Statehouse Live: In response to Florida case, O’Neal, Siedlecki vow to push for ‘Caylee’s Law’

July 8, 2011


— The outcome of the Casey Anthony murder trial in Florida has prompted House Speaker Mike O’Neal and Kansas Department of Rehabilitation and Social Services Secretary Robert Siedlecki Jr. to push for stronger laws penalizing parents who fail to report child disappearances.

“Allowing the death or kidnapping of a child to go unreported is unconscionable,” said O’Neal, R-Hutchinson.

“Kansas law should ensure that the authorities have the information they need to swiftly and safely recover missing children and include criminal penalties sufficient to address the intentional failure to report a child’s death or disappearance.

“While Kansas law does address this to some extent, our preliminary review suggests that the existing Kansas laws are not strict enough in the wake of the Anthony case,” he said.

Earlier this week, Anthony was found not guilty in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. Anthony waited more than a month before telling authorities that the girl was missing.

In a news release Friday, Siedlecki offered the full support of SRS staff to O’Neal to draft “Caylee’s Law” in the next legislative session that starts in January.

“Our job at SRS is to protect children in Kansas. There’s no reason a child’s disappearance should go unreported,” Siedlecki said.

“I appreciate Speaker O’Neal’s work to review our laws regarding the issue in Kansas, and his plans to address the situation next legislative session.”

Several other states are drafting similar legislation.


Bruce Bertsch 6 years, 10 months ago

We will protect children as long as they can travel a four lane highway to get to the nearest office.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 10 months ago

And if you're a woman traveling to Topeka using a four lane highway, be sure to take two spare tires with you!


MarcoPogo 6 years, 10 months ago

This does nothing to benefit the child; it is all punishment that will happen long after a disappearance.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 10 months ago

This from the man who came from Florida. That fair state where children actually became lost in the system and foster parents murdered their foster kids and drew checks from the state for their support for years before anyone figured out they were gone. I agree, Grandma. This is hypocritical grandstanding without shame at it's best!

Kansass 6 years, 10 months ago

Huh, I figured Brownback would offer Casey a job with SRS, you know since she's unqualified and from Florida and a great liar.

notanota 6 years, 10 months ago

Boy, it sure would be easier to detect cases of missing children if we had adequate funding to SRS...

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 10 months ago

A friend brought up a point about the proposed Caylee's Law that makes sense and is actually a bit disturbing. it violates the 5th amendment against self incrimination. Used as intended it probably wouldn't. However, how many laws are actually used "as intended"? (The Patriot Act is a good case in point.) This law could and would punish people for not incriminating themselves. It's a way of convicting someone without a jury. It's also a slippery slope. What would be next? Making it illegal for not reporting yourself because you didn't call in the fight between your neighbors and he murdered her? A law making it illegal to not report yourself because you didn't report that the people across the street are illegal Mexicans? This is the path to dictatorship. Think about it.

ebyrdstarr 6 years, 10 months ago

Yep, one of my many concerns about this law.

zadoc 6 years, 10 months ago

No question, it should be illegal to not report your child missing. POLL: Do you support Caylee's Law? Vote:

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 10 months ago

Most reasonable people will report their child missing. If they don't, they obviously have something to hide. Making it illegal to not report your child missing is a violation of the Fifth Amendment and protection from forced self incrimination. It may be highly unpalatable, but it's true. Look at it this way; passing a law to make it illegal to not report yourself for committing murder sounds pretty silly, right? This is the same thing.

Ralph Reed 6 years, 10 months ago

@PaladKik. Read SilverShadow's post. In no way does it make your point.

deec 6 years, 10 months ago

Maybe they should name the law after one of the children murdered in foster care under Siediecki's watch.

GovJunkie 6 years, 10 months ago

We HAVE a case like this in Kansas. Somewhere down in south-central Kansas... Kid disappeared for years (presumed dead) and parents didn't say a thing. No one cared; certainly no one in the Legislature... Get FOX News involved with a chick case out of Florida and there is a stampede to the microphone. Wow. Even Chuck Shumer would blush... Gj

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 10 months ago

“Allowing the death or kidnapping (in Florida) of a child (in Florida) to go unreported (in Florida) is unconscionable (but it is OK in Towanda, KS),” said O’Neal, R-Hutchinson.

ebyrdstarr 6 years, 10 months ago

In general, laws named after specific people and specific cases are bad ideas. They're responding to the emotion of one particular situation and so highly likely to lack nuance or recognition of the myriad innocent situations that would fall under the laws' reach. The original version of this Caylee's Law I saw would make it a felony to fail to report a dead child within one hour of the death. But do we really want to prosecute a grief-stricken parent who finds his or her dead child, with no hope of revival, and then loses track of time? Most parents are going to gather themselves eventually and make a call. We shouldn't criminalize it if they can't get to that point within a specific time frame (especially one as short as an hour).

And as another poster has pointed out, an awful lot of those parents who do run afoul of this law would be doing so because to report the disappearance or death would be to incriminate themselves. Clearly, www can't penalize a failure to incriminate oneself.

Ralph Reed 6 years, 10 months ago

You haven't heard?

Last rumor had it was that a super-secret double probation subcommittee of Republicans in the KS State Legislature was formed at the direction of Brownback. He's investigating anyone who's a registered Democrat. The Independents are next. Something about disenfranchising them so he'll get his wish of, "I don't want any Democratic votes ...".

Scott Drummond 6 years, 10 months ago

When I was a boy I convinced my brother one day to run away from home with me. I think quite a few kids do similar things.

How many more calls to the police will this law needlessly create?

And at what expense to the rest of us (given that time and resources spent investigating these matters will take away resources from what real crime fighting police do & their more critical work generating traffic ticket revenue for their state and city employers.)

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 10 months ago

Adam Herrman lived with foster parents in Towanda, which is near Wichita.

In 1999, when he was 11, Adam went missing. His parents did not report him, and in fact continued to cash their checks from the state. He has never been located.

Where is Adam's law?

That is why this is political grandstanding at its worse. There is a case right here in Kansas that Mr. O'Neal and Mr. Sidlecki apparently have no interest in.


Brock Masters 6 years, 10 months ago

I agree there is some degree of grandstanding but the reality is they weren't smart enough to come up with this law on their own when Adam's case happened. They are just copying other states now.

Jimo 6 years, 10 months ago

Lives this law would save?


Why not just narrow the law to its purpose: Every parent who murders their child must report this to the police 12 hours in advance ! There - problem solved. roll eyes

Joe Hyde 6 years, 10 months ago

This proposed new law sounds reasonable and necessary, but only if reasonable time frames and related contingency language get built into it that give the police sensible latitude in evaluating the parental report (or lack thereof). This can't be a "one size fits all" law due to the emotional nature of child disappearance.

The basic intent of this Florida law is good, regardless whether political grandstanding and bandwagoning are happening in Kansas as a result.

Think about it: A parent who knowingly and deliberately fails to notify authorities after becoming personally convinced that their child has disappeared, that parent is committing an act of child endangerment. Likewise, deliberately failing to report that their child has been kidnapped or murdered is to be a conspirator working to conceal those violent crimes.

Should such parents be allowed to just...walk? I don't think so.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 10 months ago

As unpalatable as it may be to you the answer has to be yes. The US Constitution says in the Fifth Amendment that you cannot be compelled to bear witness against yourself and this law is such that it would do that. It's like making a law to make it illegal for not reporting yourself for murder. As awful as it is, infanticide is real. It happens in this country every day. But as frustrating as it is, you can't stop it by violating a right that goes, in one form or another, all the way back to the Magna Charta.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 10 months ago

"This can't be a "one size fits all" law due to the emotional nature of child disappearance."

Gee, what could go wrong with this sort of thinking?

Does anyone doubt BrokeBack goons will be arresting Lawrence and KCK parents in higher numbers than say Johnson County?

Are we really too stupid as a nation to avoid the foreseeable consequences of the stupid laws our "get government out of our lives" politicians dream up in a panic and impose in our lives?

pace 6 years, 10 months ago

Another social cause, no acts to simplify tax codes, no program or policy to increase jobs or prepare Kansan's for jobs. Once they close SRS, medicaid, KNI, the next step is they will close emergency rooms. One emergency room will be able to serve the new Brownback Kansas, It will be open from 2 pm to 4 pm every other Tuesday. Location will be available by request. Anyone who can't foresee the closures of emergency rooms aren't listening.

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