Despite issues of poverty, housing insecurity, and lack of affordable childcare, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery says he will not drop felony child abuse charges against Shanesha Taylor, who left her children in a car during a job interview. Taylor faces a maximum penalty of eight years.
Many supporters have filed an online petition on Taylor’s behalf but Montgomery doesn’t care about that, either. “First, they weren’t signatures; they were just a list of names,” he tells the Arizona Republic.
So what are signatures if not 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,” he adds.
Taylor’s supporters have acknowledged the danger of leaving young children unattended in a hot car, but they want state officials to view the case as a product of social program cuts and not as an individual failing.
Laurie Roberts at the Arizona Republic says, “Roughly 6,000 children are on a waiting list for the subsidies, which were frozen by the Legislature when recession hit.”
Senate President Andy Biggs says that the lack of access to affordable childcare for those struggling to make ends meet is not the responsibility of the government, which is not obliged to be “compassionate or merciful.”