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Breastfeeding and JURY DUTY~~~HELP!

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I received a summons for jury duty 6 months ago and got a postponement due to bf~ but just received another summons last week! I am a SAHM to my 19 month old dd and she nurses alot during the day and to go down for her naps. I have NEVER pumped and she has never had a bottle. I rarely leave dd unless extremely necessary. I wrote a letter explaining my situation and am afraid that they will not excuse me. It says on the form only one postponement allowed. Any advice or experiences with this??????????? I don;t think that my dd's nurishment, emotional well being or security should be made to suffer in order for me to be a juror. I have been there (8 week trial!!) and done that...At this point in my life I just can't do it. H~E~L~P!!!!! melanie
post #2 of 20
I read an article in Brain, Child where a lawyer was summoned for jury duty. She went and carried her breast pump with her. When they asked her if there were any reasons why she couldn't perform jury duty she pulled out the breast pump and told them "I need to take a break every 3-4 hours for 30 minutes, and I need a room with an electrical outlet so I can pump my breasts for my nursing baby."

They excused her. She was very direct about it.

Good luck,


p.s. If you are summoned, you could always go to the local LLL group or the media and make a big stink of it.
post #3 of 20
(2) The prospective juror has a personal obligation to provide care to another between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Comparable care is not economically practical.

taken from a list of reasons one can be excused from jury duty, posted on this site:


more on this page:


Five states exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty (California, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota and Oregon). taken from another website.

my advice is to look at the LLL website under the laws link. then contact whoever is in charge of doing jury duty potponement. explain the situation, and if that doesn't help, I would contact news stations. Don't give in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

post #4 of 20

In Massachusetts (where I live) caring for a child/elder, etc. is NOT a reason to be excused--it says so on the summons. It even tells you that doing your civic duty is actually teaching your children how to be a good citizen. Oh, yeah--explain that to a 9 month old????

It must be a state-by-state issue--lucky CA parents who stay at home!

post #5 of 20
My son is only 4 mos. old, but i figured i could still post on this board..

this situation is absolutly terrible!!!!! i think the whole idea of forcing someone to be a fair judge of someone on trial is ridiculous anyway, but forcing a mom to stop nourishing her child just cause the computer randomly picked her is horrible.

if it were me, i'd prolly get the media involved...
post #6 of 20
You may want to contact Liz Baldwin, an attorney in Florida who specializes in these sort of thing. Go to www.lalecheleague.org and look at Breastfeeding and the law. Hope this helps. Goodluck!
post #7 of 20
I have been told that the way they get your name for jury duty is when you register to vote. So, I have not registered. I would not mind doing JD at all, when I no longer have young kids! But in the meantime, I would do anything I could do get out of it.

What about bringing your ds/d to the interview, as a last resort? Maybe that would show them!

Does anyone know how they get your name?
post #8 of 20
It depends on the state, but here in SC, they get names from both registered voters and drivers licenses. So most people are in the pool.

What kind of court is this for? I'd contact the right lawmakers for the court, depending on if it's state, local, or whatever. I noticed when I got summoned for federal court that people responsible for the care of children under 7 were excused. I think that should be the rule for all courts. I had a hard time getting out of jury duty earlier this year for the county court. I was 9 weeks pregnant and struggling with severe morning sickness. I'd have been willing to sit through a case that lasted a few hours, but this was a sequestered death penalty murder case. The judge didn't believe that I could get morning sickness in the afternoon, but the lawyers (fortunately) weren't willing to take the chance.
post #9 of 20
Absolute worst case scenario is that your number is actually pulled and you show up that morning..and when the Lawyers are choosing the jurors there is an opportunity for you to share why you don't feel as if you can serve. I just flat out stated once that I had a nursing toddler at home, as well as provided daycare for two other families. The judge said that was not reason to exempt me, but one of the lawyers made an awesome speech about the duty of mothers and let me go.

So for you,,just tell them! I give you a 95% chance of getting sent home...don't panic!

I have to say I did get to serve as a juror once, and felt totally honored to be a part of the process,,though it was a stupid stupid case..a mad was fighting his dog at large fine..egads!
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 

thanks mamas for all the replies...

I am still waiting to hear if they will excuse me due to my explanation via mail. I can only hope. I will probably know this week.

I HAVE served as a juror before for federal court and really did enjoy it. But I remember all to well the people standing up telling the judge why they would like to be excused and the judge's "nasty" remarks back to them. There were so many people trying to be excused too..

There was a priest who said that he could not "judge" a person and could not serve as a juror because it was too conflicting for him. The judge~tore into him but good! Could not believe it.

Then there was a man who had plane tickets for his 25th wedding anniversary to go to Italy...the judge told him he would have to reschedule!!!!!!!!!!!

Then there was a man who was going thru chemo and had an oxygen tank and asked to be excused~~~the judge said no!

NONE of these people were picked by the attorney's as jurors but they were tortured in their attempts to get excused.

I just do not want to leave my baby!! I am also supposed to go on vacationon the 22nd of jan and my date they summoned me for is the 16th!

Thanks Gurumama for that info on the lawyer mom that was excused. If worse comes to worse~I am going to say the same exact thing...

Any more ideas or info would be greatly appreciated Melanie
post #11 of 20
I was excused from being vaccinated at grad school for measles due to nursing and this was only a few months ago -- ds was 19 months old. I just got a note from my doc and had it faxed over. I'll bet you could be excused on that basis if you get a note from your doc too. Why don't you give him/her a call and send a note along with your "no" reply.

Good luck to you. I got called last year when ds was only 13 months old and just didn't show up. It was a weird situation though. I had only JUST moved back to the state and at the time the letter was received (at my parents house) I was not technically a resident.. had a driver's license in another state. Technically I should have went, but I, like you, couldn't leave the babe.

Hope it all works out. What defense attorney wants a juror who doesn't want to be there? Not a smart move.. don't ya think?
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

monpetfils a question for you...

So since you did not show up, did you or do you have a bench warrant out for you arrest?????? Did the court ever try to make contact with you after not hearing from you? If worst comes to worst, I would love to just not show up, but worry about the consequences. Especially if I get stopped for a parking ticket or something like that...I don't want the cop to arrest me for not showing up for jury duty. I hope I hear back from them soon and that the news is good... Melanie
post #13 of 20
No bench warrant that I know of. Interestingly enough, since I did move back to the state in which I was called to serve, I had to get a new driver's license as well as a substitute teaching license, the latter required finger printing in the police station. Nothing negative ever came of it and I think I would have known by now, but maybe not? Did I get away with it? Maybe, but I'm not entirely sure. It's been almost a year now. Keep your fingers crossed for me, okay?

One more thing I forgot to anser.. no, the court never contacted me. I think I may have had my bases covered though since I was technically a resident of California at the time. The notice itself was sent to my parents house and I had not lived there for many, many years and could prove this if necessary. The risk factor on my part was low. But again, they never bothered to contact me.
post #14 of 20
This shouldn't be a problem for you to be dismissed. at least here in TX, if you are the legal guardian of a child 10 or under and you don't work outside the home, you are exempt. If you work outside the home, then the child obviously has childcare provided somehow, so you would have to go. Since you are a SAHM to a young child, i don't see how there could be a problem. Just talk to them ASAP. (Easier said than done where I live--i finally got ahold of someone via email).


PS--Just wanted to add...if they insist upon you coming to the summons, take your child in a sling or whatever, and when you stand before the judge, explain that you are a SAHM and breastfeed your baby. I had a friend who was forced to appear, in MO, and she took her baby in the sling and also was newly pregnant. When they started to question her, and found out all these things, they felt really bad that she even had to come down to the courthouse!
post #15 of 20
Wow! I got a summons this fall and asked for a postponement on the basis of having a breastfeeding baby and was postponed until November of this year. I didn't even think of the fact that more likely than not my son will still be breastfeeding at that time! And I live in MA where caring for one's child/ren isn't a legitimate excuse (though caring for elders is, when I combed over the summons).

Good luck to you and please post about the outcome!
post #16 of 20
If you can't get out of it you could try "forgetting" to go. My husband actually did forget about his summons. When he called the day after to tell them what happened they said it was no big deal and that they would send another one sometime in the future. Maybe you know someone with legal knowledge who could tell you the consequences of "forgetting" where you live.
post #17 of 20
I can fully relate to your jury duty childcare concerns, as this same type of situation happened to me.

The Judge was completely lacking in understanding of my circumstances when I asked to be deferred because I was taking care of my 2 young children and had no family or friends who could help out. He made me feel like a *criminal* for asking!

I have since learned that there are quite a few states (and even U.S. territories) that have or are considering family friendly jury duty laws (about 30).
Typically these laws have provisions for parents who are breastfeeding, taking care of a young child full-time, and/or are the sole caregiver for an elderly or disabled relative.

There is a website dedicated to family friendly jury duty legislation at: http://www.familyfriendlyjuryduty.org

This site has a lot of helpful info for parents who are caught in this bind.
It contains resources such as:
*Guidelines on what to do if you’re called for jury duty and have family obligations.
*"Hall of SHAME” stories of law-abiding citizens who are mistreated by our Courts for living up to their family responsibilities!
* An extensive listing of states that have family friendly jury duty laws.
* Arguments in favor of “Family Friendly Jury Duty” laws
* Information on how to enact compassionate jury duty legislation.
* Endorsements in favor of this legislation from attorneys, legal experts, family organizations, senior organizations, news columnists, and more

Jury duty IS an important civic duty and privilege, but it can WAIT because taking care of our young children and dependent family members is even MORE important!

I hope this info helps....

post #18 of 20
I just got summoned for jury duty too, and if I didn't have a child I wouldn't have any problem doing it. Luckily here in Texas, as someone else mentioned, you're excused if you have a child under 10 w/ no other means of childcare. But my husband said a good way to get out of serving on a jury is to say when they are interviewing you,

"You can tell someone is guilty just by looking at them."

His attempt at humor. Anyways I thought it was funny. I honestly don't think you'll have any trouble getting out of this though. If it comes down to it, take your baby with you like the others said, the lawyers at least won't want to keep you there. And if the judge is mean, so what, at least you're not neglecting your child. Tell them your duty is to your child right now. I can't believe these rules can be so different from state to state. Neglect of a child is against the law isn't it? It just doesn't make sense that a judge would chastise a woman for taking care of her children. Good luck, I'm sure it will work out fine.
post #19 of 20
I did jury duty when my youngest was 18 mos. old. He is also a big nurser and doesn't eat a lot of other foods, but he eats more when I am not available.

I could not get excused but the clerk at the courthouse told me my obligation was only for 3 days. My husband was able to arrange his work schedule to be home those 3 days, but I was worried about getting picked for a longer trail.

When I did get called up for the picking of a jury, the judge asked if anyone would have a problem finishing the trial (which they thought would only take 2 days). I said I could be there just through the day I had been called to serve.

I found out there was another breastfeeding mom on the jury too. My son did fine with his dad, but did want to nurse as soon as I got home. There was another breastfeeding mom on our jury. We had pretty long luch breaks, and she called up her caregiver when we had a break and that person brought the baby over to the courthouse.

Now I can't be called again until my son is 5.
post #20 of 20
I don't know how things are in MI, but here there is a list of exemptions on the back of our jury summons and one of those exemptions is if you have children under 10 (I think) and are a SAHM then you are exempt from participating. I would call the courthouse and talk with the baliff, that's what I did when we got home from the hospital and I had my summons waiting for me. Talk about a nice homecoming. :
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