Shanesha Taylor Was Right to Refuse to Submit to Court Attorney's Demands

by B. Cayenne Bird for Daily Kos

They’ve got law and order in Arizona. Just look at the case of Shanesha Taylor who is now being hung in the media of one of the worst states in America when it comes to the support of single moms. The articles and newscasts sound as if they are parroting press releases issued by the elected Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. Most are full of outright lies and distortions that need clarification which is my intent with writing this op-ed.

This demand by Montgomery to “put your money in a trust fund or else we prosecute you for already cleared charges” is one of the most revolting displays of government abuse and over-reach that I have ever witnessed.

Arizona is known for over-zealous prosecution of people of all races, but particularly minorities. Clearly Montgomery is just “Jonesing” to send this mother of three to prison, regardless of the approximately $900,000 that it will cost for the trial, imprisonment and costs of having someone else rear her children. Montgomery and his right wing prosecution team cares nothing about the human toll and the devastating, life-long damage that prosecution on felony charges of which she has already been cleared will cause to her and every member of her family. Conservatives in charge of the criminal “justice” system there have demonized and stereotyped Shanesha as one of the “undeserving poor.”

Also at risk in this case is discouragement of the new practice of crowd funding as a way to help others to get on their feet and muster a legal defense. This was the intent of the donors with no conditions of how the money would be used expressed or implied by anyone. If one gives someone a cash birthday gift, it does not come with the expectation of terms and conditions upon what they will buy with with the money. This was a gift and no one can legally or morally misconstrue it any other way. Why does the prosecution team think they have a right to this gift?

Joyce Vogt, probably the largest single donor to the campaign, a woman who rallied her church to put up the bail and make donations for Taylor, said “I have no regrets in donating to Shanesha Taylor. I did this as a gift to her, to get her back on her feet. I don’t expect to get anything out of this because this wasn’t about me, it was about helping someone who was struggling and desperate. So often people give gifts and donations with strings attached. There were no strings…no expectations…no conditions. I question the tactics the State is using, insisting that she trade the financial freedom that donors around the world gifted to her for freedom from prosecution for these charges. It seems like a pretty unfair trade that places her back in the financial position that she was in when all this started. It doesn’t seem right to me to do that.”

Common sense dictates that the best way to protect children is to give single mothers back-up and support, but in Arizona hateful attitudes as displayed in the comments sections at the various media sites are more the rule than the exception, particularly among the McCain-worshiping controlling elite. One woman commented that she is “praying” that Shenesha Taylor be sent to prison and have her kids taken away from her because of her refusal to allow the prosecutors to take away her donations. What kind of religious deity is she praying to who would want an outcome like that other than Beelzebub? Praying for the family to be destroyed? Outrageous mindsets are too abundant in Arizona.

Montgomery wants to make an example of Shanesha and his shame-and-blame campaign goes beyond the pale of what should be done to discourage people from ever leaving their offspring unattended in a car. Even it was only March, on a cloudy day with the temperature outside 71 degrees, Shanesha is truly sorry for this error in judgment.

Montgomery says he is doing this smear campaign against her for all kids, but he is the same callous person who had to be sued by the parents of 5-year-old Zander Welton born with epileptic seizures so intense that he went through two brain surgeries as everyone tried to reduce their severity. The one medicine that gives him relief is cannabis oil. Luckily, Montgomery lost and was over-ruled by the judge in the Welton case. Montgomery claims to be an activist for children but there is ample evidence that this is not truly the case. He is only an activist for right wing beliefs from the Bronze Age, such as the continued drug war and has been called out on a number of unethical practices. Take a look at how long he caused this little boy to suffer and threatened his parents with prosecution for bringing him relief. It is sickening.

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Photo Credit: Charlie Leight/The Republic

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