Updated Apr 16, 2014 - 6:44 pm
Defense attorney: Shanesha Taylor 'made a mistake'
PHOENIX -- Thousands nationwide have banded together to offer their support to Valley resident Shanesha Taylor, the unemployed mom who left her kids in a hot car last month while she went on a job interview.
"She was in panic mode," Benjamin Taylor (no relation), Taylor's defense attorney, told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR's Mac & Gaydos Wednesday. "She made a mistake and everybody understands that."
Not quite "everyone."
Despite Taylor's attorney dropping off over 12,000 petitions to the County Attorney's Office on Tuesday, Montgomery announced Wednesday that he was not swayed by the signatures and the child abuse charges against Taylor will not be dropped.
"First, they weren't signatures," he said. "They were just a list of names from the change.org website. I don't know whether any of the individuals in their pajamas who logged on to the website and put their name in there, really had a clue of all of the circumstances involved in this particular case."
Taylor alleges that even without the signatures, Taylor's unique circumstances warrant a reconsideration of the charges.
"In most cases, people have an intent to commit a crime or they have an ill will," Taylor explained. "This is a woman who was trying to get a job and she had nowhere else to place her kids at the time."
Taylor also argues that punishing Taylor for trying to better provide for her family will ultimately make her children even worse off.
"By putting felonies on her record, how does this help her family...by putting her in prison, putting her jail, taking her away from her kids?" Taylor asked.
Montgomery said that after digging further into Taylor's alleged circumstances, Taylor's claims of unemployment and homelessness are not quite accurate.
"We've learned since that she actually had part-time employment, so she wasn't unemployed," he said. "She actually had a residence listed, so she wasn't homeless."
Since news broke that the two Class 3 felonies against Taylor will not be dropped, Taylor's attorney is now hoping for a sympathetic jury.
"I think that the people who do understand...people understand single mothers and what they go through every day raising their kids," Taylor said. "I think other people are like Ms. Taylor."