Her crime was putting the hand of a 13 year old boy on her brasier-covered breast. Sexual offense involving children fall without my purview for a variety of reasons, and while some will think that this is a 13 year old boy's fantasy, I'm unimpressed. That said, let's not lose any sense of proportionality. As child molestation goes, this is as small, and harmless, as it gets. Not right, for sure, but not the rape of a five year old either.
For Taylor, it doesn't matter. Nevada has determined, in a fit of one-size-fits-all legislating, that any lewd act with a person under 14 deserves life in prison. I can hear the demagoguery as lawmakers exhort their saving the children, with a hand out for campaign contributions. In the minds of voters, they picture the psycho brutally raping the beautiful, innocent little girl, and the only question asked is why not the death penalty.
Here is the other side of the picture, via Mike at Crime & Federalism :
There's much to consider in this video. The prosecutor's effort to take no moral responsibility for the decision to prosecute Taylor for a crime that carried a life sentence. The decision not to offer an appropriate plea bargain, thus sealing her fate upon conviction.
The defense lawyer's heartfelt effort to argue against a law that permitted no flexibility, to the point of breaking down when there was no place left to go. A question persists why her arguments as to constitutionality, of both the law and sentence, weren't presented before and after trial in writing, whether to present the argument and law in the most meaningful fashion, or to preserve the issue for appeal.
And then there's the judge, whose casual demeanor toward his duty was painful to watch. When he allowed defense counsel to pursue her constitutional argument over the prosecutor's objection, the outcome became clear. But his imposition of a life sentence for what, at best, can be describes as a trivial offense, without any indication that he was disturbed at being a grocery clerk for the politicians, was very troubling. It was so routine, so inconsequential, but for the fact that Taylor was sentenced to life in prison.
We talk of ordinary injustice with much regularity, but are often unable to provide a clear picture into how this happens in courtrooms every day. The sentence of Michelle Lyn Taylor is as ordinary as it comes. And just as wrong.