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Child Abuse in a Hot Car

Shanesha Taylor, charged wih felony child abuse by the Maricopa County attorney in Arizona, has captured the sympathies of people across the country.

Since her late March arrest, after she left her six year old and her baby in a car for 45 minutes while she went to a job interview, Americans have donated more than $100,000 to her cause, making the campaign to support her among the most successful in the history of the web.

Her treatment by prosecutors – Bill Montgomery, the county attorney, has said she will face felony charges – has sparked comparisons with other parents charged with child abuse in Arizona.

I have not followed the case closely; but it strikes me that the felony charges are harsh. But there is a certain logic that those who have not lived in Arizona might not really comprehend. When I lived there, it seemed that nearly every Spring or Summer there were stories of parents who had left children (or pets) in cars only to return to find them dead, after having experienced what must’ve been horrifically painful deaths in Arizonas stifling summers.

According to the Arizona Republic, the temperatures in the car reached 100 degrees while Ms. Taylor was away. It was thoughtless and even negligent to leave her children in the car. But is it deserving of a felony conviction?

 

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