Out in Nevada today, Michelle Taylor will get a chance to argue to the Nevada Supreme Court that her life sentence violates the ban on cruel and unusual punishments. In case you've forgotten the details, here's the skinny:
Ms. Taylor, 34, was convicted under Nevada’s “life-for-lewdness” law in November 2009 for drunkenly forcing a 13-year-old boy to touch her breast and demanding (unsuccessfully) that the boy engage in sex. Neither the judge, nor one of the original legislative sponsors of the lewdness law, felt the punishment fit the crime. Still, the existence of the mandatory minimum law forced the court to sentence Taylor to life in prison with possibility for parole in 10 years.
Nevada's Shame: The Case of Michelle Taylor, Part I
SentenceSpeak: Nevada's Shame: The Case of Michelle Taylor, Part II
Now John Stossel Weighs in on Michelle Taylor Sentence
In all cases, however, FAMM is committed to the bedrock principle of justice that individuals should be punished based on the severity of their crime as well as their personal culpability. In Ms. Taylor’s case, the life-for-lewdness law is written so broadly that she could have received a shorter sentence if she had murdered or kidnapped her victim. Hers was not the case lawmakers had in mind when they set the mandatory life penalty. But, once again, a mandatory minimum law took away the court’s discretion to impose a more reasonable sentence.Check back at www.famm.org for updates on the Taylor case in the next few months.