Mom Who Avoided Jail After Leaving Kids in Hot Car May Face Charges Again

Last March, a Phoenix mother named Shanesha Taylor made headlines after she left her 2-year-old and 6-month-old children alone in a hot car for 45 minutes while she went on a job interview. It didn't help that she committed this "sin" at a time when parents were being crucified left and right for leaving their kids in cars while they went off to do things like drink at bars.

But Taylor's situation was different. She was trying to improve her life and didn't have child care options. After several compassionate citizens came to her defense, a judge kindly offered her what seemed like a fair bargain: in exchange for her freedom, Taylor would have to set up a $60,000 trust fund for her children's education and take parenting classes. She agreed and regained custody of her kids. We thought all was well.

But this week we've discovered she did something that may lead the court to reinstate charges against her and compromise her freedom.

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Taylor received more than $114,000 in donations from incredibly kind people who saw her sad mug shot and felt she didn't deserve to be punished for trying to better her family's economic situation. After regaining custody of her children in August, she stood in court and agreed to complete a 26-week diversion program, as well as set up the trust funds.

But at her settlement conference this week, the 35-year-old told a judge she had failed to meet the deadline to contribute $60,000 because she had yet to find work and was scared she might have to tap into the money in order to care for herself and her family.

She also said she felt the original amount they agreed upon was too much and proposed that it be reduced to $35,000.

When the judge asked if she could provide bank statements to prove she hadn't already spent a portion of the funds on herself, Taylor reportedly said the money was in her mother's bank account and she wouldn't feel comfortable sharing those records. She did, however, agree to provide an ATM receipt to prove she had $35,000.

More from The Stir: Homeless Mom Who Left Her Kids in the Car Gets What She Deserves

So here's where this leaves Taylor: prosecutors may decide to honor a different agreement and accept less money in the trust account, OR they are perfectly within their rights to say, nope, sorry, we gave you a chance and you agreed to our terms and then failed to deliver. In which case, the original charges will be reinstated and Taylor will have to start all over again.

I've been following this case from the start and feel a great deal of empathy for this mom. I realize she shouldn't have agreed to a promise she couldn't keep, but I also think it's possible she didn't realize she would be unemployed for this long. Perhaps when she agreed to these terms, she honestly thought she would have a job by now and wouldn't be so far behind on her bills.

At this point in her life -- when it sounds like she's living day to day -- $60,000 is a HUGE chunk of money to put aside and not be able to access, especially when you are focused on practical concerns, like putting dinner on the table each night. It's not like Taylor is flat-out refusing to set up a trust fund -- she's just asking for it to be reduced. And $35,000 isn't a paltry sum, either.

Do you think the court should reinstate charges against this mom or give her another chance?

 

Image via CBS 5

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