A woman says a judge was out of line when he called her out for breastfeeding in his courtroom during a lengthy wait.More >
LEE'S SUMMIT, MO (KCTV) -
Jury duty isn't most people's favorite thing, but imagine getting the summons while being a new mother and unable to leave the baby.
That was the case for a Lee's Summit woman whose stand is landing her a court date of her own at the Jackson County Courthouse.
Laura Trickle is fighting a charge of contempt of court all because she breastfeeds and couldn't leave her son behind to serve jury duty.
"You're not allowed to have children there for jury duty," Trickle said. "I've never even had a speeding ticket, so I have zero experience with legal issues."
Trickle said her 7-month-old son, Axel Graham has to be with her to eat. But that didn't get her off the hook, so she appeared for jury selection, with her baby, hoping the judge would grant an exemption, instead he gave two options.
"I would be able to pump on breaks. Unfortunately Axel doesn't take a bottle, so that was not an option for us. The other option was to have someone stay with me all day and then be able to nurse on breaks. But since I'm a stay-at-home mom, we don't have childcare," she said.
So, now she is facing contempt and up to a $500 fine.
"It has been really scary. It has been very stressful for our family," she said.
A St. Joseph senator is working on a bill to excuse breastfeeding mothers from jury duty. That is already the case in Kansas and 11 other states, and Trickle hopes her story can help make the change.
"It is not right. It is not fair for us. We're just trying to do what is best for our children, and we shouldn't be penalized and fined for it," Trickle said.
Trickle has a hearing date Thursday in Jackson County where she will make her case to try to avoid any penalties. As she put it, $500 is a lot of diapers.
KCTV5's Alice Barr reached the judge in the case at home, but he said he was busy and couldn't comment.
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