Despite Petitions, Arizona Legislature Won’t Drop Shanesha Taylor’s Child Abuse Charges; Could Face 8 Years In Prison
While there has been major success in raising more than $100,000 for homeless mother Shanesha Taylor, and one petition on Change.org to get her charges dropped has exceeded 46,000 supporters, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery says that the child abuse charges against Taylor will not be dropped. In fact, Montgomery says that he thinks many of the people supporting Taylor don’t realize the dangerous details of her case. If you weren’t aware, Taylor is the mother who left her two young sons in a hot SUV with the windows cracked for more than 45 minutes as she went to a job interview. She told police at the time that she was homeless and had no one to watch the kids that day. Montgomery had this to say to the Arizona Republic (via Salon):
“First, they weren’t signatures [on the online petition in support of Taylor]; they were just a list of names. So I don’t know whether any of the individuals in their pajamas who logged on to the site and put their name on there really had a clue of all the circumstances involved in this particular case. The ‘quote-unquote’ letter addressed to me didn’t mention any of the circumstances that presented those children with jeopardy.”
According to the Republic, details from Taylor have been confusing and all over the place (and her family, including that great-aunt of hers, aren’t helping). At one point, she told the police that she stayed with her kids in a Walmart parking lot the night before her interview, but has also said that she had stayed with her mother off and on for the last year. And while she left her kids in a hot car for a job interview with an insurance company (police estimate temperatures inside the car reached almost 103 degrees), court documents reportedly show that she worked part-time as an office aide. The real details behind Taylor’s life before and leading up to this incident are unclear, but what is clear is that Attorney Montgomery isn’t feeling her story, and state government doesn’t seem to care about her situation, or that of other working poor/homeless parents in Arizona. Reportedly, those in the House and Senate have rejected the idea of creating child-care subsidies for working poor parents who need somewhere safe for their children to stay while they work, and more than 6,000 children were on a wait list for these type of programs before the recession hit hard and froze any plans to put them in place.
The mother of three (she has a nine-year-old daughter on top of the two young sons involved in the incident) could face a maximum of eight years in jail if convicted. Her lawyer, Benjamin Taylor (they don’t seem to be related), is still working to see if he can get her charges dropped or to come up with some type of deal. Shanesha Taylor’s children are still in the custody of Child Protective Services.