Appeals court denies bid to overturn molestation sentence
A Nevada City man convicted in 2017 on six counts of making lewd acts against a child has lost an appeal of his sentence.
Robert Lewis Taylor, 56, is currently serving 30 years to life in prison. He will not be eligible for parole until February 2040, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation website.
“The appeals court affirming the conviction validates the finding of the jury, which was to believe the victims that testified at trial,” said Nevada County Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh.
Despite the Jan. 5 ruling by the Third District Court of Appeals, Taylor’s friends and family say they are undeterred in their efforts to secure his freedom.
“We will follow the legal steps wherever they take us,” said Taylor’s mother, Kathy Greenwood. “We’re not going to stop.”
A petition can be filed for review in the California Supreme Court within 10 calendar days after the decision becomes final in the Court of Appeal. Review by the California Supreme Court is extremely rare, however, with the court only granting review in 4% to 5% of cases, according to the state court’s website.
Taylor did not accept a plea agreement that would have netted him six years “because he was not going to admit to something he did not do,” said stepfather Jeff Greenwood. “To make a long story short, Rob is a good and innocent man who should not be in prison.”
According to the Greenwoods, they felt a good case was presented to the Appellate Court for jury misconduct as well as judicial misconduct.
“There was no justice at any level,” Kathy Greenwood said.
The ruling, written by Acting Presiding Judge Louis Mauro, noted Taylor sought to have his sentence reduced and also sought a new trial due to alleged juror misconduct.
Mauro found that while the sentencing law in effect at the time of the offenses allowed for the possibility of probation, Taylor was not eligible.
Eligibility for probation would have required finding that probation was in the victims’ best interest, and Mauro noted nothing in the victim statements supported such a finding.
Mauro also found no evidence of juror misconduct and ruled Taylor was not denied due process or a fair trial.
The motion for a new trial was based on alleged misconduct by Juror No. 3, who had disclosed during jury selection that she had been molested as a child. The jury foreperson subsequently claimed that juror was biased and swayed the other jurors with “very intense and very emotional” comments.
Mauro, however, noted there was no evidence that juror influenced or instigated an effort to convict, pointing to the fact that the jury acquitted Taylor of two counts and hung on four counts, writing, “It is not necessarily misconduct for a juror to share during deliberations the juror’s thoughts based on personal experience.”
Mauro did, however, find that fines and fees had been assessed incorrectly and reduced the amount owed by Taylor by some $2,000.
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at email@example.com.
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