Judge delays punishment for breast-feeding mom

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Jackson County judge Thursday morning delayed punishing a nursing mother who refused to serve on a jury. The judge said he wants to allow time for lawmakers to take action to exempt breast-feeding moms from jury service.

Laura Trickle, of Lee's Summit, is accused of contempt of court after she showed up for jury duty in September with her 7-month-old son, Axel, and no one to care for the baby.

Trickle told the court her boy would go unfed if she served on a jury.

Jackson County Judge Marco Roldan said he recognizes great value in nursing babies but said Trickle broke the law by refusing to arrange for a caregiver to watch her baby. The court would have provided Trickle with a private room to nurse her baby and allowed breaks every 90 minutes for her to do so.

Trickle told FOX 4 News that would still make her and the baby jump through a lot of hoops. She says Missouri law needs to change.

"We're hoping that with this attention that the legislature will pass a law that will exempt nursing mothers," Trickle said. "Not only nursing mothers, but mothers with other dependents, disabled children or other caregivers, full-time caregivers of disabled adults that would need to be exempted as well."

Judge Roldan said bringing a caregiver and baby to court every day is a valid hardship. He delayed ruling on this case until next June. That would allow the Missouri legislature time to pass a law exempting nursing mothers from jury service. Roldan says if lawmakers pass such a law, the charge against Trickle will be dismissed. If there is no such law by June, Trickle will be found in contempt of court and probably fined $500.

Another nursing mom, Jennifer Dawn Ward, was recently fined $500 for refusing jury service by Judge Roldan. Ward and Trickle are part of the same Lee's Summit breast feeding support group. The judge will now also refund the fine Ward paid until June 2014, putting her in the same situation as Trickle.



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