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Should Women Who Breastfeed or Have Small Children Be Exempt From Jury Duty?

Moms of Young Children Should Be Exempt From Jury Duty

by Lisa Fogarty 

Few of us actually look forward to reporting to jury duty, but like good civic bees, we do what we must to keep our country's justice system functioning. But have you ever been asked to serve while you were in the middle of breastfeeding, taking care of your young children, and trying to keep your own family functioning? It can be an absolute nightmare to get around some state court's rules when it comes to jury duty and the responsibility of caring for children. And for one woman in Kansas City, her decision to bring her baby with her to court for jury duty so that she could continue to breastfeed may put her in contempt of court and cost her a $500 fine. Not exactly what you would call a just and fair ruling, is it? 

Laura Trickle was given a choice when she replied to a court summons and stated she was breastfeeding and would be unable to serve at this time: according to Missouri law, she could either report to jury duty and use a private room to pump milk and store it so her son could feed from a bottle at home, or she could report to jury duty with her baby and a caretaker and use her breaks to breastfeed. 

In the real world, these options don't always work out. Laura's son refuses to drink from a bottle -- something many of us can relate to -- and she either doesn't know of a caretaker whom she can trust or she can't afford to pay one for nine hours a day for, oh, however long the case may run! Laura did the best she could by bringing her baby with her to court. I mean, kudos to her for actually showing up, which is more of an effort than some people give. But the court didn't see it that way and now she has to report to her own court hearing to find out if she'll face penalties for not following directions.

Only 12 states currently exempt breastfeeding moms from serving jury duty, but we have to do better. Not only should all states pardon breastfeeding moms, there should also be an understanding that moms (and stay-at-home or work-from-home dads) of young children -- whether they breastfeed or formula-feed -- don't always have an easy time finding childcare solutions so they can serve jury duty.

My baby was 18 months old when I showed up to serve, and I had to practically beg lawyers not to put me on their cases. Because I worked part-time, the court deemed me fit to serve. But what they didn't get was that I didn't have a caretaker from noon until 5 p.m. or on Thursdays or Fridays and would have to pay for one -- for someone I didn't know or trust to watch my baby. The thought completely freaked me out and I guarantee my head wouldn't have been clear enough to properly judge a case. 

Do you think women who breastfeed or have young children should be exempt from serving jury duty?

 

by on Oct. 21, 2013 at 12:19 PM
Replies (111-120):
celestegood
by Gold Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 7:39 AM
This. ANd I live in missouri, like this woman-I sent in their paper stating that I was nursing a baby. I didn't recieve a summons, so I wasn't required to go.

Quoting kristinas8:

I was summoned several times while my kids were all little and I sent in letters asking to be excused and was always granted my wishes.

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celestegood
by Gold Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 7:39 AM
See? This makes me feel like she was sent a paper asking if there was any good reason to not serve, and she failed to fill the paper out and mail it back.

Quoting kellysparkles:

Yes.

I'm exempt from Jury Duty because I'm the primary caregiver to two children.

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kellysparkles
by Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 7:53 AM

Well, it depends.  If she's lived in the same state then when she registered to vote she would've gotten her jury duty paperwork, and if she was a fresh 18 with no kids then she may have chosen that was available, but now she isn't.  The only reason that I was able to claim an exemption is because I recently moved and registered to vote in my new state, therefore I got the jury duty paperwork.  In my home state I'd probably have some issues because I registered at that fresh age of 18 lol.  Now, though, I'd be unavailable to do it.

I agree, though, that she failed on her end to take care of things.  I know there are always extenuating circumstances, but I'm going through some court-related things right now so I know the struggle of dealing with the courts when you have to worry about your child(ren), but I also know there's no excuse lol.

Quoting celestegood:

See? This makes me feel like she was sent a paper asking if there was any good reason to not serve, and she failed to fill the paper out and mail it back.

Quoting kellysparkles:

Yes.

I'm exempt from Jury Duty because I'm the primary caregiver to two children.


celestegood
by Gold Member on Oct. 28, 2013 at 10:37 AM
1 mom liked this
True. Either way, they did kind of overkill punishing her.

Quoting kellysparkles:

Well, it depends.  If she's lived in the same state then when she registered to vote she would've gotten her jury duty paperwork, and if she was a fresh 18 with no kids then she may have chosen that was available, but now she isn't.  The only reason that I was able to claim an exemption is because I recently moved and registered to vote in my new state, therefore I got the jury duty paperwork.  In my home state I'd probably have some issues because I registered at that fresh age of 18 lol.  Now, though, I'd be unavailable to do it.

I agree, though, that she failed on her end to take care of things.  I know there are always extenuating circumstances, but I'm going through some court-related things right now so I know the struggle of dealing with the courts when you have to worry about your child(ren), but I also know there's no excuse lol.

Quoting celestegood:

See? This makes me feel like she was sent a paper asking if there was any good reason to not serve, and she failed to fill the paper out and mail it back.



Quoting kellysparkles:

Yes.

I'm exempt from Jury Duty because I'm the primary caregiver to two children.


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Jerichos_Mommy
by Member on Oct. 30, 2013 at 1:09 AM

yes

themomof3boys
by Member on Nov. 2, 2013 at 8:30 AM
Yes and I have been exempted from jury duty 2 times because of it.
MooNFaeRie30
by on Nov. 3, 2013 at 6:26 PM

I don't breastfeed and was asked to be exempt because I had no one to take care of my 2 small children. I was lucky enough that it was ok

EarlGrayHot
by on Nov. 4, 2013 at 2:06 PM

Most people should serve and I have previously.  But when my hubby was undergoing chemo and I was his primary caretaker and this was in a big city north or us to which I'd have to drive every day AND I have bad vison especially at night-well-I wrote in asking to be exempted.  I think some situations, especially caretaker situations, that should be taken into account.

pamelakeller
by on Nov. 5, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Yes!  Especially when they have little ones at home, and are breastfeeding.

CatsInTheBag
by New Member on Jan. 31, 2014 at 3:49 PM

I was exempt because I don't have alternative childcare and had a 18 month old. That was such a huge relief

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