Michelle was sentenced to life in prison for lewdness with a minor under 14, even though a psychologist found she was unlikely to commit another offense and she had no history of sexual misconduct. In fact, she used alcohol as an adult to cope with the pain of sexual trauma from her own childhood. Under Nevada law, Michelle could have received a shorter sentence for killing the minor.
On April 15, 2010, Michelle Lyn Taylor was sentenced to life in prison for lewdness with a minor under 14. Michelle was found guilty of forcing a 13-year-old boy to touch her breast through her clothing and asking if he wanted to have sex with her. The boy was the son of Michelle’s friend and was playing video games at her apartment on February 22, 2008. Michelle was intoxicated at the time and does not remember doing what was alleged, but was extremely embarrassed, concerned and willing to accept responsibility for her actions. However, the prosecutors never offered her a plea deal.
In Nevada, the charge of lewdness with a minor under 14 carries a mandatory minimum life sentence with parole eligibility after ten years. District Court Judge Mike Memeo was forced to give Michelle life in prison despite the fact that she had no prior history of sexual misconduct and that the psychologist who examined her found she was unlikely to commit another offense. Judge Memeo could also not take into consideration Michelle’s extensive personal history of sexual trauma. As a child, she was removed from her mother’s care and placed in foster homes due to sexual and physical abuse. Michelle used alcohol as an adult to cope with the pain and shame from her past.
According to Michelle’s public defender Alina Kilpatrick, the only two other women sentenced in Nevada for lewdness with a child under 14 both received plea bargains. The first defendant, who ultimately received two-to-five years in prison and probation, pled guilty to attempted incest for engaging in oral sex with her son. The second woman was given a plea bargain for two counts of attempted lewdness for participating in the sexual abuse of her daughter with her husband. Kilpatrick also argues that Michelle’s jury was not informed that the offense carried a mandatory life sentence when it found Michelle guilty. Watch Michelle’s sentencing hearing here.
Michelle is currently appealing her sentence. Under Nevada law, she could have received a shorter sentence had she killed the 13-year-old boy. Keeping her in prison until she reaches the average life expectancy for a woman in America will cost Nevada taxpayers more than $1 million.
The Facts: Michelle Taylor
Offense: Lewdness with a minor under 14
Prior felonies: None
Year sentenced: 2010
Age at sentencing: 34