FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2010
WASHINGTON D.C. - Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the nation's only nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to fighting one-size-fits-all sentences, condemned the mandatory life sentence issued to Michelle Lyn Taylor on April 15 in Elko County, Nev.
According to published news reports, a jury convicted Ms. Taylor, 34, of lewdness with a minor under 14 for forcing a 13-year-old boy to touch her breast through her clothing and soliciting him for sex. Conviction for lewdness with a minor under 14 carries a mandatory life sentence in Nevada with parole eligibility after 10 years.
"Based on what we've learned so far, we believe the life sentence handed to Ms. Taylor is a total travesty of justice," said Julie Stewart, FAMM founder and president. "FAMM does not condone criminal behavior, especially where a minor is the victim, but no reasonable person can believe that the punishment fits the crime in this case. Life sentences are usually reserved for murderers and repeat violent offenders." Click here to read local news coverage on the case.
"FAMM opposes mandatory minimum sentencing laws that carry disproportionate one-size-fits-all sentences and enormously expensive penalties. Keeping Ms. Taylor in jail for the rest of her life could cost Nevada taxpayers well over $1 million. This seems like a terrible waste of a life, and limited taxpayer resources," concluded Stewart.
The harshness and high expense of mandatory sentences, like the one meted out to Ms. Taylor, are two reasons why other states are reforming mandatory minimums. Over a dozen cash-crunched states, including New Jersey, Rhode Island and Michigan have enacted significant sentencing reforms in the last decade, saving millions of dollars and reducing pressure on overcrowded prisons. FAMM can provide background about the states that are rejecting mandatory minimums and retooling their sentencing laws.
Families Against Mandatory Minimums is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization supporting fair and proportionate sentencing laws that allow judicial discretion while maintaining public safety. For more information on FAMM, visit www.famm.org or contact Monica Pratt Raffanel at (202) 822-6700 or email@example.com.