Judge postpones decision on breast-feeding mom’s contempt charge
LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — A Jackson County judge postponed a ruling in the case of a Lee’s Summit mom who was charged with contempt of court on Oct. 24 after she brought her seven-month-old son to jury selection. Laura Trickle said she had no choice because she was breast feeding her son.
On Thursday, Trickle returned to court to face her contempt charge. Rather than handing down a ruling, Judge Marco A. Roldan decided to wait until the 2014 legislative session before deciding whether to convict Trickle of Lee’s Summit with contempt of court. Roldan said he wants to see if lawmakers change Missouri law to allow breast-feeding mothers to be exempt from jury duty before making a decision. Roldan said lawmakers looked at the bill last year, but it never came up for a vote. Roldan said if legislators change the law, the contempt charge against Trickle will be dropped. If the law is upheld, then Trickle will likely be charged with contempt of court and will be required to pay fines.
Another woman charged with contempt of court paid $500 in fines in recent months. According to the court administrator, Judge Roldan has decided to refund her money in light of Trickle’s case and its outcome.
Back on Oct. 24 Trickle was charged with contempt of court after she took her son to jury selection because she was breastfeeding him. At the time, Judge Roldan told her she could either pump during breaks and feed him the bottle or have someone take care of him near the courthouse and nurse during breaks. However, Trickle said her son does not take the bottle, as most breast-feeding children don’t, and she does not have child care.
On Wednesday, Judge Roldan issued this statement:
As a judge in Missouri, I am bound to follow Missouri law in deciding who can be excused from jury service. The law in Missouri does not make a provision for a juror to be automatically excused from jury service if she is breastfeeding. The law states that jurors are to be given only one postponement for six months. The law states that a subsequent request to postpone jury service may be approved by a judicial officer only in the event of an extreme emergency such as a death in the family. As much as we all value mothers who choose to breastfeed their children, the Missouri Legislature has chosen not to allow an exemption under these circumstances. As a judge, I am obligated to follow the law.
FOX 4’s John Pepitone will have more on this story and reaction from Trickle on FOX 4 News at Noon. Refresh this page for updates.