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Should Moms of Young Children Be Exempt From Jury Duty?

Posted by on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM
  • 165 Replies

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. 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Bazinga! on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:05 AM


by on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:09 AM
If the mom is the primary care taker than yes they should be up to a certain age say 3 for example. If you are a mom of a young child already in day care or you already have a child care provider than no. I am a SAHM and would not be able to get anyone to watch my children. I will not send my child to a daycare for a day with people I don't even know just for jury duty. Our courts are very understanding and would excuse someone for that anyway. Obviously not all are. I was excused when I was pregnant due to having a UTI the whole pregnancy I would need more than the normal breaks to eat and go to the bathroom, etc. They are not going to allow breaks for just one person. Like I said not every court is like that but I know ours is.
by on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:13 AM
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This entire article to me (my opinion) sounds like excuse after excuse after excuse. Sometimes in life you have to figurea way around things & 99% of the time it ends up working out.
by on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:14 AM

 The last thing I really care about is Jury Duty.

I got called in about 7 years ago and I ignored it and didn't go. About a year later I got another notice that said since I didn't show up or respond the first time I had to come in. I ignored that and didn't go or respond.

All my friends and family were feaking out telling me they will put a warrent for my arrest and you can't ignore it and on and on...

6 or more years later here I sit, never heard another word from the courts about it.

 Subhan Allah ( سبحان الله )"Glory be to Allah"
 Alhamdulillah ( الحمدللہ )"All Praise to Allah"
 Allahu Akbar ( الله اكبر )"Allah is the Greatest"

by Ruby Member on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:29 AM
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Since not everyone has access to affordable day care, the funds to pay for it or a convenient friend or family member willing and able to care for the child/children, yep, I think they should be excused.
by Bronze Member on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Yes, I do.  I was a SAHM when my kids were little and it would have been a hardship if I had been called for jury duty.  I was living 1500 miles from my relatives and I didn't have daytime babysitters in place.  If I had been called, my husband would have had to take time out of work to take care of the kids.  I was living in Iowa at the time, and Iowa has exemptions for nursing moms, so at least I would have been able to get out of it while nursing them. 

I have nothing against serving on a jury.  I have been called twice in my adult life and showed up each time.  The first time, all cases were settled before any jurors were called.  The second time, I made it into the courtroom and came within 1 number of being called before they settled on their jurors for the case.  I was also called for grand jury once, but it hadn't been enough time since the last time I was called for jury, so didn't have to serve. 

by Bronze Member on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM

Absolutely not!!!

by on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:31 AM
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 No.  Serving on a jury is our civic duty.


by Member on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:31 AM

I'm from Kansas city area and she has a lawyer and will not get into any trouble. She will get pardoned and the law is already in the process of being looked at for change. She did everything she was suppose to and tried to do everything by book. She called several times to tell them the situation and they told her they couldn't do anything and that she needed to come in and talk to the judge. She did with her baby and got in trouble. It is stupid.

by on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:33 AM
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When I was a single 23 year old working making $35,000 a year paying  for an apartment in the DC area, car insurance, food, etc. you think they let me go at jury duty?  I don't think so.  I was out of work for 6 days Monday-Friday and the following Monday.  That's 6 days I lost a paycheck.  those were the days I lived paycheck to paycheck.  For 2 months after I was behind on every single payment I made.  I don't think just because you are a mom you get a free pass. 

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