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A young girl wearing a backpack stands by herself at a crosswalk while waiting to cross the street

The nation’s best trial lawyers are always looking for ways to advocate for the safety of all people, both inside and outside of the courtroom. To better protect young children in Pennsylvania, Chaffin Luhana is currently working to have important state legislation passed to amend Amber Alert rules. 

The Nalani Johnson Rule is a proposed amendment that would allow law enforcement to immediately activate an Amber Alert when a child under age 13 is abducted — even before meeting certain investigation criteria. The current system takes too much time to be effective in the most urgent of cases: stranger and acquaintance kidnappings of young children.

The proposed amendment states:

“For children under age 13, if a parent or family member reports that their child was abducted by a non-parent or non-family member, there shall be a presumption, absent immediately clear evidence to the contrary, that the Particularly Vulnerable Child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death and the Missing Endangered Person Advisory System shall be immediately activated without additional investigation prior to the activation of the Amber Alert System.”

The bill comes after the tragic death of two-year-old Nalani Johnson, who was abducted and killed last year in Pittsburgh. Her father immediately reported the abduction to 9-1-1 with the details necessary to trigger an Amber Alert, but it was delayed for hours while the police followed outdated protocols. The abductor was arrested minutes after the Amber Alert was finally issued, but by then it was too late to save Nalani. 

This tragic case highlighted a deficiency in Pennsylvania’s Amber Alert system, which encourages a highly detailed, time-consuming police investigation before issuing an alert. However, those moments could be the difference between saving a child and getting there too late. The Nalani Johnson Rule seeks to start the investigation sooner, to hopefully bring more young children home safely after an abduction.

You can support the bill by signing the online petition here. HB 2295 has bipartisan support. More than 10,500 people have signed. No matter where you are, you can help protect Pennsylvania children by supporting the passage of the bill, starting with signing the online petition and sharing it with others.

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