Life For Lewdness Questioned for Supreme Court

Posted: 6:33 PM Sep 15, 2011
Reporter: Terri Russell
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An Elko County woman is spending the rest of her life in prison for having a 13-year-old boy touch her breasts. Thursday Nevada’s Supreme Court was asked to decide if the punishment fits the crime.

CARSON CITY, NV – “You can be seated,” said Justice David Cherry as he and two other supreme court justices entered chambers and prepared to hear arguments.

Some might ask how did it get this far?

Michelle Taylor, 32, was accused of having a 13-year-old boy touch her breasts at her home and later telling the teen she wanted him to have sex with her.

“While there was negotiations in this particular case, because of the stance of the defendant she didn’t want to plead to anything that would require her to register as a sex offender,” says Elko County Deputy D.A Chad Thompson.

But according to court documents, that was not the case.

Taylor was ultimately found guilty of lewdness with a minor and sentenced to life with the possibility of parole after ten years.

“That was set by the legislature,” says Thompson.

“She is serving the exact amount of time that she would be serving if she had committed 2nd Degree Murder,” says Alina Kilpatrick, Taylor’s Defense Attorney.

Kilpatrick and her co-counsel Donald Bergerson argued in front of the Supreme Court, Taylor’s sentence doesn’t fit the crime.

Clothes were not removed, genitals were not touched—there was no penetration–Nevada’s lewdness law is over-broad.

Justices questioned if this was an adult man and a teenage girl would the defense argument be the same?

They also asked if the Supreme Court ruled in their favor would the court then be flooded with other requests from robbery and grand larceny convicts who didn’t steal as much as the other guy?

“Well the sentence for grand larceny and burglary, and robbery are not this high and they are not as disproportionate. .They are much more meaningfully arranged to go and fit the crime. It’s not a catch all statute,” says Bergerson.

No body is arguing lewdness did not happen here, it did.

However to what degree?

Bergerson says he wasn’t asking the court to grant his client a child day care license.

However he says the sentence here was shockingly severe.

A decision in this care could come in a few weeks or several months

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