Judge postpones decision on breast-feeding mom’s contempt charge

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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.

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8 comments

  • Sara

    Last I checked mom’s with 7 months old were able ot go to work and leave their children even if breast feeding. There are things called breast pumps and bottels, and the excuse that the baby won’t take a bottle, well by 7 months he/she should taking a bottle.I have tons of friend and family members who breast feed but thier baby will take a bottle when it is all that is avilalbe. No excuses. I don’t think work places are going to allow women to still be staying at home becuase their 7 month old is breast feed.

    • Cara

      I couldn’t agree more!!! I get that breastfeeding moms want to make a stand. Heck I breastfeed all 3 of my kids and I didn’t care if I was in Walmart or out to eat. But when it came to work, or someplace where I had to leave my baby I pumped and gave it to them in a bottle. I don’t see why this woman is the exception.

    • Beth

      Huh you don’t have kids do you. She is obviously a stay at home mother idiot. She had no daycare. She is one of those special moms that put her baby in front of money. Not all of us have kids so somebody else can raise them. Maybe if more of us mothers stayed home and breast feed and took care of the children we birthed there wouldn’t be so many jacked up kids. And by the way most breast fed babies will not take a bottle especially with stay at home mothers. What do you need a bottle for.

  • Joe

    She keeps saying she had no choice but that isn’t true. She has several options but elected not to use them. Wonder if she will take the baby to jail if she has to spend a night or two there? I hope the judge sticks to his decision and makes her pay a fine or spend a night in jail.

  • Jen

    I breastfed my son for 2 months while i was at home with him. When I went back to work, I pumped, but also got formula just incase I didnt provide enough breastmilk for him. He would not take a bottle even if that was the only thing he had available. He would only take milk from the real thing. My daughter never took a bottle either & I nursed her for 2.5 yrs.

    I am not saying its right or wrong, but I just stating that some kids will not take bottles.