Prompted by the death of Orlando 2-year-old Caylee Anthony in 2008,
Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed a measure to bolster penalties for
lying to police when a child goes missing.
Known as "Caylee's
Law," the measure (HB 37) was among a handful of criminal justice bills
signed into law Friday by the governor that included measures on human
trafficking, cop killers and paying funeral expenses for children who
die while in state custody.
In contrast, Scott vetoed a measure
that would have allowed some non-violent offenders to get out of jail
early and fulfill their sentences by attending intensive substance
Caylee's Law makes it a third-degree felony to give false
information to a law enforcement officer in the event of missing child.
The bill was introduced after the highly publicized trial of Casey
Anthony, Caylee's mother, who was acquitted of murder but charged with
four counts of lying to police. Caylee wasn't reported missing until 31
days after she vanished.
Casey Anthony was sentenced to four
years in prison, the maximum sentence for lying to police as a first
degree misdemeanor. She was released last summer after time served.
Had the bill been in effect, she could have faced up to 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
by the death of another Florida youth, Scott signed HB 173, which gives
the Department of Juvenile Justice the authority to pay funeral
expenses in some cases if a child dies in the agency's custody.
bill follows the death of Eric Perez last summer in a juvenile lock-up
in Palm Beach County, and the initial refusal of the state's chief
financial officer, Jeff Atwater, to pay for his funeral expenses.
CFO's chief of auditing, Mark Merry, said the state didn't have
statutory authority to make such payments, even though the agency had a
policy in the past of doing so.
Perez, 18, died July 10 at a West
Palm Beach detention center. His burial expenses were $7,600.
Eventually, the state paid Perez' family $5,000 toward the funeral
Other bills signed Friday include HB 947, which sets a
10-year minimum sentence for possession of a firearm during a burglary
of a conveyance, aggravated assault; or possession of a firearm by a
felon. The crimes had been subject to a three-year minimum sentence.
governor also signed HB 7049, which consolidates prosecution of human
trafficking investigations into the office of the statewide prosecutor
and streamlined laws already on the books.
Among a handful of
vetoes issued Friday, Scott rejected HB 177, which would allow certain
offenders to be released prior to reaching 85 percent of their sentences
if they are enrolled in a qualified substance abuse program.
to victims of crime is not served when a criminal is permitted to be
released early from a sentence imposed by the courts," Scott said in his
veto message. "Florida's sentencing laws have helped reduce Florida
crime rate to a 40-year-low."