House Bill 75, known as “Kilah’s Law,” is the namesake of a three-year-old girl from Union County who suffered severe head injuries last spring that required doctors to remove part of her skull in order to reduce swelling in her brain.
Kilah’s Law increases the maximum penalty for the most serious crimes of child abuse to 33 years (from just 15). The new law also specifies that the presiding judge and the Clerk of Court must indicate that the case in question specifically involved Child Abuse on both the record of judgement and the defendant’s conviction — so anyone making inquiries regarding the defendant’s criminal record can learn of the crime. HB74 was passed unanimously in both the North Carolina House and Senate and was signed into law on April 24, 2013.House Bill 149, known as “Caylee’s Law,” makes it a felony in North Carolina for parents or guardians to fail to report a missing child within 24 hours, if the parents or guardians were in a position to know that the child might be in danger. The legislation was named after little Caylee Anthony, a two-year-old Orlando, Florida girl who died tragically in June of 2008.
Caylee’s Law also increases the penalties for intentional concealment of the death of a child, and for making a false report to law enforcement officials during an investigation of the disappearance of (and certain felony offenses against) a child.
The bill was introduced shortly after the high-profile trial of Casey Anthony, who failed to report her daughter missing for over a month. Ms. Anthony was found guilty of only four misdemeanor charges of providing false information to law enforcement officials about her daughter’s death, and two of those charges were later overturned on appeal.
A petition drive urging state lawmakers across the country to pass versions of “Caylee’s Law” was started by Michelle Crowder, an Oklahoma mother, immediately following the trial. “When I saw that Casey Anthony had been found ‘not guilty’ in the murder of little Caylee, and that she was only being convicted of lying to the police about her disappearance, I was sickened,” said Crowder. “I could not believe she was not being charged with child neglect or endangerment or even obstruction of justice. I’m hoping that this will be made into a federal law so that no other child’s life, disappearance, and/or death is treated in the manner that poor Caylee’s was treated,” said Crowder. “No child deserves that.”
HB149 was passed unanimously in both the North Carolina House and Senate and was signed into law on May 17, 2013.