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It's too early to play the race card in Catalina Clouser vs. Shanesha Taylor. | SLTA___
     It’s too early to play the race card in Catalina Clouser vs. Shanesha Taylor.

The teen mom whose baby flew off the roof of the car got probation.This is an unpopular opinion but, (brace yourself) I think the judge made the right call.

Two years ago, Catalina Clouser (then 19-years-old) was driving home from a friend’s house and left her 2-month-old baby on the roof of her car.  Twelve miles later, she realized the baby wasn’t in the car, having flown off the roof landing in the middle of the highway.  The baby was safe and sound in the carrier, and now Catalina has been sentenced to 16 years of probation. (x)

I’ve seen a picture going around comparing this case to Shanesha Taylor’s, the homeless mother who left her children in a car while she went on a job interview, and we need to address it.


I’m the first to say the justice system is unfairly stacked against people of color, but this isn’t the situation to illustrate that point…yet.  A much better argument would be to compare Clouser to Marissa Alexander who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing ONE warning shot that “endangered” her three children.  The judge gave her a sentence based on the potential harm her children faced irrelevant of the actual facts of the situation.  

Clouser also placed her child in potential harm, arguably far more harm than Alexander’s children faced, and she got off with probation because the judge realized it was just an immature mistake that she won’t repeat.  I honestly don’t believe Clouser is a danger to her children and she shouldn’t be locked in prison away from her children because of one mistake.  She should be punished, but putting her in prison is also punishing her children, so probation is the logical decision.

The judge in Alexander’s ruling ignored everything about the case, sentenced her to prison, and now she’s been given a second trial facing triple the original sentence if convicted.  That’s not justice.

Shanesha Taylor’s case is still open and there’s a chance (a fairly decent chance actually) that things will go her way.  Yes her children have been taken from her, but the kids are always taken away when the mother is homeless and can’t prove she’s able to care for her children.  Does the state of Arizona bear some of the responsibility for the fact that Taylor is in such dire straits?  Yes they do, especially since they further cut funding from welfare programs recently.  However, that’s irrelevant to the actual case and to the comparison with Clouser.

Clouser’s child was found on the highway.  She was arrested for child abuse.  She was eventually given probation at sentencing.

Taylor’s children were found alone in a car.  She was arrested for child abuse.  The rest is to be continued. (x)

The justice system is broken, but to cry foul and make a comparison before a conclusion has been reached is counterproductive.  Making a preemptive comparison between Clouser and Taylor distracts from what you could be doing to influence the actual outcome.  You could donate to Taylor’s legal fund or donate to help her find housing. You can  recognize Taylor’s story for what it is — the failure of our country to build an effective safety net for single mothers, for working families, and for our veterans.  You can even petition the district attorney to drop the charges.  But save the race card for Marissa Alexander.  Save the hate pouring out for Clouser, who was a kid who made a mistake, and direct it toward the systems that forced Taylor to leave her children in a car while she went on an interview.

Make Taylor’s case visible, talk about the issues, and hope the judge in this case pays attention to the relevant details as the judge in Clouser’s case did.  That race card will be a lot more effective later if  our country fails Shanesha Taylor (again.)

7:56 pm  •  16 April 2014  •   Let's talk about what you think.

| catalina clouser| shanesha taylor| race| news| white privilege|

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