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We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.

Caylee’s Law Drafted to Protect Parents and Missing Children

September 18, 2011

Please welcome guest poster, Marie Owens as she takes you through the ins and outs of Caylee’s Law. Caylee’s Law is the brain child  of Michelle Crowder from Durant, Oklahoma, an ordinary person like you and me, who decided to try and make a difference.  You can make a difference, too, by signing the petition located here: Sign the Petition for Caylee’s Law LINK

Caylee’s Law Drafted to Protect Parents and Missing Children

Caylee’s Law began as a legislative petition on the Change.org website, initiated by activist Michelle Crowder of Durant, Oklahoma. Crowder was inspired to form the law after following the high-profile Casey Anthony trial, which resulted in an acquittal of first degree murder charges stemming from the death of her daughter, Caylee Marie Anthony. It was alleged that Casey Anthony, who was aware of her daughter’s death, did not report her missing for a period of 31 days. Caylee’s Law, if enacted, would make it a felony for a parent or caregiver to fail to report a missing child within 24 hours in circumstances where the parent or caregiver should have known that the child may have been in danger. In fact, some colleges such as University of Pittsburgh are even incorporating classes revolving around the law for students attaining a criminal justice degree or law degree.

Opponents to the petition have expressed concerns about potential legal ramifications surrounding the narrow reporting time lines. In an interview with CNN, Ms. Crowder acknowledged that she had not consulted with law enforcement officials, medical experts or legal counsel before drafting her petition with the proposed 24-hour and one-hour time line. The portion of the proposed bill that requires a parent or caregiver to report a child missing within 24 hours does not address logical concerns as to when the child was actually missing, as opposed to when the parents realized the child was missing. Caylee’s Law has come under scrutiny by legal analysts regarding the potential for over-compliance. This could potentially result in false reporting by parents fearful of becoming suspects. Possible complications can arise when reporting a hospitalized child’s death, especially if the exact time of death is unclear, as in the unfortunate circumstances of natural disasters or tragic accidents.

Despite opposition, Caylee’s Law is critical legislation designed to prevent time lapses in reporting a missing child. The sooner a child is reported missing the chances of recovery are significantly greater. Amber alerts and media outcries for help can be put into action immediately, and search efforts can begin. The law is designed primarily to end irresponsible behavior on the part of parents and caregivers, as was evident in the Casey Anthony case. A Florida Department of Law Enforcement official reported that national statistics have shown that approximately 45 percent of missing and/or abducted children who are murdered die within the first hour of being reported missing. The number of deaths increases to 76 percent during the first three hours. These facts underscore the importance of Caylee’s Law.

Proposed legislation begins with a petition which is essentially an application for initiation of a new law and a solicitation for support. In-depth legal analysis and research will be conducted before the final draft of Caylee’s Law is completed. The law will be drafted precisely, assuring child safety without placing parents at risk of facing criminal charges

Caylee Anthony was reported missing by her maternal grandmother, Cindy Anthony on July 15, 2008, who related to an emergency dispatch operator that she had not seen her granddaughter for 31 days. Caylee’s mother, Casey Anthony, was charged with first degree murder of her daughter in October 2008. Casey Anthony initially told law enforcement detectives that her daughter had been kidnapped by her nanny on June 9, 2008 and that she had been spending her own time and resources searching for the child, as she was frightened to alert authorities to the disappearance.

The tragic and untimely death of Caylee Marie Anthony touched the hearts of many people worldwide. After many months of massive search efforts conducted by non-profit organizations and volunteers, her skeletal remains were ultimately discovered in a densely wooded area close to the Anthony family home. The televised trial of Casey Anthony in the summer of 2011 was described by Time magazine as “the social media trial of the century.” Casey Anthony was ultimately acquitted of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse and manslaughter of a child, but was convicted of providing false information to police officers.

The basic premise of Caylee’s Law, as drafted by Ms. Crowder, is that parents would be charged with a felony if they fail to report a missing child within 24 hours, or if they fail to report the death of a child, under any circumstances, within one hour. The original petition, as cited on Change.org has garnered approximately 1.3 million electronic signatures since July 19, 2011. In response to Caylee’s Law petitions, law makers in several states have begun drafting versions of Caylee’s Law. Although the imposition of child reporting laws may not save missing children, Caylee’s Law will impose sanctions on parents who fail to report missing children. The possible sanctions or felony charges against parents is the basis foundation of the proposed law. An additional site known as Care 2 has drafted a similar petition in support of Caylee’s Law. The petition, targeted for the Florida Legislature, basically states that any parent or caregiver who fails to report a child under the age of six missing for over one hour is guilty of felony child neglect. A parent or caregiver who falsely reports the circumstances of an accident or injury to a child under the age of six is guilty of felony child neglect. To date, this petition has received approximately 4,750 signatures, with a stated goal of one million supporters.

Ms. Crowder’s initial petition was written in hopes that Caylee’s Law will protect children from injustices of the criminal justice system. Caylee’s Law may be a vehicle through which prosecutors are able to convict a suspected parent of some sort of felony, even though, as in the Casey Anthony case, they may not have sufficient evidence to obtain a murder conviction (www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/11/catlees-law-casey-anthony-_n_893954.html).

The proposed Caylee’s Law petitions, in preliminary form, are important in bringing forth legislation that could save the lives of many innocent children and force parents and caregivers to report missing children. Concerned citizens are encouraged to sign electronic petitions on the Change.org website or on the Care 2 petition site. Caylee’s Law can become crucial legislation for parents and law enforcement agencies in searching for and recovering missing children.

About Marie Owens: As a prospective law student in Washington state, Marie Owens is particularly interested in criminal law and gender issues. She writes to promote criminal justice education, and teaches martial arts in her spare time.

Caylee Anthony’s Death Can Make A Difference in Another Child’s Life

September 17, 2011

I think many of us who followed the Caylee Anthony case and watched in shock as her mother walked away a free woman have felt a sense of deep sadness and anger that justice was not served.  You could add the names of Haylee Cummings, Gabriel Johnson, Kyron Horman…..the list is seemingly endless.  It would be easy to throw up our hands and say, “There’s nothing I can do.  It sucks but it’s the truth, so I’m done.” But what if there is something you, as an individual, CAN do?  What if there is something ONLY you can do that might mean hope instead of despair for another child like Caylee? A lot of time and effort has been put in by a LOT of people to follow this case and others, me included.  The fact is, there was never anything we could have done to save Caylee. From the moment we heard her name it was too late.   But it’s not too late to save a whole lot of children destined to suffer Caylee’s fate if each of us would just step up and step out to help.

In an effort to promote ways we can make a difference in the lives of children at risk, I’m starting a series of articles to raise awareness of just what’s available out there that we, as concerned citizens who truly care for the welfare of all children, can do to make a difference.  Some involve a great deal of your time and some just a little. (like signing the petition for Caylee’s Law)

There are so many kids that need our help all around the world, many in our own backyards. (sometimes literally–think Jaycee Dugard)  Caylee Anthony was just one child at risk.  If her death can inspire just one person (you?) to stand up and do just one thing to help just one other child that still has a chance, then Caylee did not live in vain, and by her death many might truly benefit.

Don’t be a person that stands on the sidelines and watches.  Get in the race!  Make your life make a difference. I promise, it will rock your world in ways you could never imagine.

Tomorrow, I’m posting an article on Caylee’s Law by my first ever guest writer, Marie Owens.  She will be writing about Caylee’s Law.   Over 1.3 million people have signed that petition online. If you haven’t already, please add your signature to that list! We CAN make a difference!!!

 

CASA for Children

September 14, 2011

ABOUT CASA link

I haven’t written a post in a long time, mainly because I was so discouraged by the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial. It is what it is, and even thought there is nothing anyone can do to change what happened to Caylee, there is plenty that can be done by us as individuals, to make a real difference in another child’s life. One of those ways is Caylee’s Law, and I will be publishing an article by a guest poster on that legislation in the next few days. Another way is to join or support CASA. (Court Appointed Special Advocate) I went through the training this summer, and got my first case in July. The two young sisters I’ve had the pleasure of watching out for and getting to know has made as much of an impact on my life as I hope it has on theirs. I KNOW I’m making a difference for them. It’s just a little thing, but at least it’s SOME thing. Check it out at the link above. You won’t regret it.

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget he is someone today.  (Stacia Tauscher)

 

 

July 5, 2011: Casey Anthony-NOT GUILTY

July 5, 2011

Wow. I’m in shock.  I don’t know what to say.  Today, July 5, 2011, a woman got away with murdering her little girl.  Casey Anthony got away with murder.  She can’t be tried again.  She may actually walk out the door Thursday morning for time already served.

All I can say is I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall in that jury room.  It makes absolutely no sense to me how they could have come back with that verdict in less than–what? 24 hours?

George and Cindy walked out of the courtroom with solemn, not joyful faces.  I wonder if they will allow Casey back in their home?

I can’t write anymore right now.  I’m just stunned.

Casey Anthony’s life is now (finally) in the hands of the Jury

July 4, 2011

This morning started with Jeff Ashton as he methodically checked off every argument (outrageous or otherwise) the defense put forth in their closing arguments. He did it brilliantly.  I won’t go into great detail here other than to say, IMO, he removed George as a suspect of anything.  He clearly demonstrated that the skull and body parts of little Caylee had been in the woods for months, that Roy Kronk was an embellisher of the truth, but not a confiscator of the body or a planter of the body. He showed how the duct tape was clearly attached to the skull and why there was no DNA on it.  He stated “People don’t make accidents look like murder.”  He showed that law enforcement didn’t tamper with evidence, and they certainly were looking for a missing Caylee at first. They also gave Casey every opportunity to say it was an accident.  He tied Casey only to the death of Caylee.  He did a great job.

If you missed closing arguments you will find them at this LINK

Jeff Ashton gave the jury an easy to understand explanation of what 1st degree murder means:

1. Pre-meditated murder: When a person kills another human being pursuant to a pre-planned act or scheme.

2. Felony murder: When a person kills another human being while engaged in the commission, or attempted commission, of the following statutorily enumerated felonies, regardless of whether they intended to kill anybody.

(for our purposes I’m only going to name one felony, though there are 17 others.)

AGGRAVATED CHILD ABUSE.  Aggravated child abuse is defined as: 1)Committing an aggravated battery on a child. 2)Willfully torturing, maliciously punishing, or willfully and unlawfully caging a child. 3)Knowingly or willfully abusing a child and in so doing causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child.

So, what this means is, if Casey taped Caylee’s mouth to keep her quiet, and she accidentally died, or if Casey chloroformed Caylee so that she could go party with her friends, and Caylee accidentally died, then that’s 1st degree felony murder, and she can still get the death penalty.  Accident or on purpose, it’s still punishable by DEATH or life in prison.

Next up was Linda Drane Burdick. I’m telling you,  Jeff Ashton was great, but Linda Drane Burdick was simply brilliant.  If you missed her you can see it at the link in the first paragraph of this post.

I’m only going to mention the last part of her rebuttal. She could have skipped everything else and jumped right to it and still been just as effective.  It was that good.

LDB: At the end of this case all you have to do is ask yourself this simple question.  “Who’s life was better without Caylee?  Was Cindy Anthony’s life better?  (she plays the 911 tape where Cindy was hysterical) Was George’s life better?  Mr. Ashton went over what George Anthony’s life was like as a result of losing his beloved granddaughter.  Who’s life was better? That’s the only question you need to answer in considering why Caylee Marie Anthony was left on the side of the rode dead.

LDB then put up a split screen picture showing Casey partying her brains out at Fusion while Caylee was “missing” on one side of the frame and a picture of Casey’s shoulder displaying her tat,”The beautiful life”, on the other.

*(These are separate photos I found on the internet . Not the split screen photo the prosecution showed.)
LDB: There’s your answer.

It doesn’t get any better than that. Bravo Ms. Burdick.

Judge Perry read the instructions to the jurors and then it was over. 

Verdict watch  has began.  I’m predicting that if the jury comes back in the next 48 hours, she will be convicted of 1st degree murder.  Later than that, and I think it’s off the table. Am I wrong?

Casey Anthony nears her long awaited date with Fate. Tomorrow her case goes to jury

July 3, 2011

Finally back–what an inconvenient time for a computer to bite the dust! Luckily, I’d backed up the hard drive a month ago, so I didn’t lose much. ————————————————————————————————————————

Prosecutors wrapped up their rebuttal to the defense’s case on Friday. (and what a rebuttal it was!)  Without question, Cindy Anthony didn’t do the searches for chloroform and “neck breaking”.  She was on her work computer during the time those searches were done. This put the possibility of premeditation firmly back on the table. It means that Cindy Anthony perjured herself on the stand.  It also means Cindy thinks, like George, that Casey killed Caylee. Why else would she risk prison by lying under oath? It was a last ditch effort to save her daughter. Is anyone really surprised by her actions? She did what she has always done with Casey–she covers up her mistakes. She enables her.  Unfortunately, this time, she didn’t succeed.  What Cindy did for Casey doesn’t mean she didn’t love Caylee.  It just means she loves Casey, too, unconditionally and desperately.  It’s heartbreaking to watch Casey watch her mother.  It’s so obvious that she doesn’t reciprocate Cindy’s feelings.

As for George and his lies about River Cruz or whatever her name is, who can really blame him for lying about his affair with her? His wife was sitting in the courtroom.  She has been destroyed by her daughter–she didn’t need to be done in by her husband, too.  Not saying George should be given a pass for his indiscretion. Shame on him for turning to another woman.  Just saying I can see WHY he said what he said on the stand. Whether or not George lied for Cindy or for himself, I’m glad Cindy did not have to suffer the humiliation of a confession from him on national television.

I’ve been vocal in my criticism of Cindy and George Anthony. I’m not proud of that. Over the years, I’ve been flabbergasted and frustrated by their actions and behavior, and have let my exasperation control what came out of my mouth. What I didn’t do was put myself in their shoes.  If I had, I would like to think I would have been kinder.

In spite of what I might have said or thought over the last three years, I can honestly say that I never once considered that George Anthony might have had anything to do with the demise of Caylee Anthony. I have at times thought he, and more so, Cindy, have lied in an attempt to put a different spin on the facts that were plainly in front of their faces.  Denial is a such a powerful tool of the mind. It’s a self-preservation mechanism that has allowed the Anthonys’ to survive this horror in their lives. I hate to think what depths of despair George, Cindy, and Lee will sink to now that the truth can no longer be denied.

This case will go down in history as one of the most bizarre cases ever tried in the American court system.  It is also going to be remembered for another reason.  I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a family be so completely destroyed in such a public way as the Anthonys. It’s one for the textbooks, and has been brutal to watch no matter what you think of the players. We will all go on with our lives after the verdict is read, but  George, Cindy, and Lee Anthony will not.  They will live in the hell Casey created for them for the rest of their lives. I think Casey will actually take comfort in that fact. I hate to say it, but Caylee was the lucky one.  She’s in heaven.

——————————————————————————————————————————–

Jeff Ashton

TODAY, the prosecution did an excellent job with their closing arguments. Jeff Ashton methodically and matter of factly went through what Casey might have done to Caylee, what happened during the 31 days before Caylee’s disappearance was reported to police, and what Casey did after Caylee was reported missing. They gave their theory as to how Caylee was killed and how she ended up tossed in the swampy wooded area behind her grandparents home. Jeff Ashton did this in easy to understand terms and in a relatively short amount of time.  He was brilliant, and Casey knew it.

Jose Baez

Then the defense put on their closing arguments.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Jose Baez didn’t do all that bad of a job–it was wayyyyy tooooo looonnnngggggg, but still not a terrible job. Ok, at times his arguments were ridiculous (or outrageous as he seemed to be fond of saying) but his passion was undeniable.(And, when you compare today to the amateur job he did putting on his case in the first place, you might even say his closing arguments were great.) He is without a doubt emotionally involved in this case. It’s not just about ambition and money. Don’t misunderstand me here.  No question he wants to win for HIMSELF.  No question he is using this as a stepping stone to what he perceives to be a wonderful career. But, it has also taken an emotional toll on him. He is vested in Casey. He is doing the best he can, using what little he has, to give Casey the defense she deserves. Unfortunately, if he had put his client’s interests before his own, he would have removed himself.  An experienced attorney might have done more. He didn’t do that, so some would say Casey IS getting the defense she deserves.

The prosecution was given a gift when Judge Perry said they can put on their rebuttal of the defense’s closing arguments tomorrow.  I was exhausted just watching the attorneys in my easy chair in front of the televison today. Can  you imagine how exhausted the jury was?  Tomorrow they will be fresh.  Tomorrow the prosecution will be fresh. Tomorrow, I have no doubt, the State will seal Casey’s fate.

If you didn’t have a chance to watch today, Jeff Ashton did something extremely juvenile while Baez was in the midst of his closing argument.  He’d been doing it off and on ever since Baez took the podium–laughing.  Baez finally had enough and did something equally juvenile. He lashed out at Ashton, calling him the “laughing guy.” (Watch it at this  LINK)  Judge Perry immediately called a recess while he admonished both of them.  In the end, Perry said that if either lawyer does anything inappropriate again, that lawyer would be permanently removed from the case.

Casey responded on cue all day, crying into her kleenex when she felt it was appropriate and looking the martyr the rest of the time.  Surely the jury must be getting sick of watching her painstakingly wiping the fake tears from her face in slow motion.  Today though,  she looked as if she finally realized that the party is about over, and there is a very good chance she will be convicted of murder in the first degree. It hit her today that there is a better than even chance she will never see the light of day again whether she gets the needle or not.  I think she was also shocked at how close Jeff Ashton was getting to the truth of what really happened in his closing argument.

Tomorrow we will be in the home stretch. The prosecution will finish up with their rebuttal,  and the case will be in the jury’s hands. I predict a quick turn around. We won’t have to wait long for a verdict. :smile:


Casey Anthony trial, June 23, 2011: Cindy Anthony testifies for the defense

June 23, 2011

In case you missed it, here’s a link to Cindy Anthony’s testimony today: Cindy Anthony searched computer for chloroform

Today came out of left field for me.  I thought George and Cindy finally stared reality in the face, and are now in court every day to truly find “the truth no matter what it is.”  Today’s testimony came on the heels of the Anthonys’ attorney, Mark Lippman, telling a news reporter, Gary Tuchman,  that George and Cindy don’t think their daughter is innocent.  So why wouldn’t I think they had finally seen the light.  Didn’t George and Cindy (for the most part) testify honestly when the prosecution put them on the stand?   Lippman has since tried to retract  his statement, saying it was taken out of context, and we all saw what Cindy did today.  Just goes to show you can never predict what a person is thinking or saying.

Today, Cindy Anthony looked Linda Drane Burdick directly in the eyes, and said SHE was the one who did the searches for chloroform on the family computer, not Casey.  In fact, she testified–under oath—that her work records must be incorrect because she was home at the time the searches were made–NOT at the office.  If that weren’t enough, she went on to testify that the  stains in the trunk of the car were actually there when they purchased it.  Were the stains in the form of a small child in the fetal position?  That question wasn’t asked.

My first reaction to today’s testimony was surprise, (I know, I’m naive), and my second was anger.   But, after reflecting on it for a few hours, my third reaction is, who am I to judge Cindy Anthony?  She and I actually have a lot in common.  She is a mother.  I am a mother.  She is a grandmother. I am a grandmother.  My little grandson just turned 3 making him close to the age Caylee was when she died.  I believe Cindy loves her daughter in pretty much the same way I love my sons.  I believe she adored her granddaughter just as I adore my grandson.   I would like to say that’s where the similarities end, because  I hope I would never try to protect my son in the way Cindy is attempting to protect Casey if  I believed he killed my grandson.  I would like to think my desire for justice for my grandchild would trump my desire to save my son from suffering the consequences of his actions. But the truth is, I will most likely never be in the position Cindy is in, and I would venture to say none of you will be either.  So, I honestly don’t know if I would be tempted to lie to save my child.   I can think I know, but unless I’ve walked in those awful shoes, I can’t be sure.  Can you?

In the end, what Cindy, (or George, or Lee) does isn’t going to matter much other than to themselves.  They will have to live with the choices they make. I believe justice  for Caylee is coming no matter what they do on the stand.  The evidence is overwhelming, and Casey will pay for what she did–maybe not with her life,  but she will spend the majority, if not all the rest of her life in prison.   The Anthony family will be spending the rest of their lives in prison, too— a different kind of prison but a prison none the less,  thanks to Casey.

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