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Judge Slaps Breastfeeding Mom with Civil Contempt Charge, $500 Fine

Judge says she “willfully and contemptuously appeared for jury service with her child”

Adan Salazar
October 21, 2013

The mother of a 7-month-old boy faced objection when she toted the infant inside a courtroom, earning her a contempt of court charge, along with a $500 fine.

Laura Trickle says she wasn’t trying to defy courtroom etiquette when she decided to bring her toddler, Axle Graham, with her to jury selection at the Jackson County Courthouse in Kansas City, Mo.

In fact, Trickle tried to get out of jury duty. She explained to the judge that Axle wasn’t accustomed to bottles and needed her around for feeding. Additionally, Trickle is a stay-at-home mom and doesn’t have a regular babysitter.

So, she showed up to court with Axle, and got slapped with a civil contempt charge, a court summons of her own and a $500 fine. To be clear, she never actually breastfed in court.

7-month-old Axle Graham. [1]

7-month-old Axle Graham.

The judge said Trickle, “willfully and contemptuously appeared for jury service with her child.”

“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 told KCTV 5 [2].

12 other states, including neighboring Kansas, allow breastfeeding moms to opt out of jury duty, and Republican Missouri Senator Rob Schaaf is sponsoring a bill [3] to get the same done in Missouri.

Now the stay-at-home mother is hoping her story will advance that cause, and get other breastfeeding moms off the jury duty hook.

However, Trickle still has to show up to court on Thursday and argue her innocence, which she plans to do. She reportedly told KCTV 5 she’s going to challenge the fine because “$500 is a lot of diapers.”

Trickle is obviously not familiar with the latest progressive notion that “kids belong to the collective,” as MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry [4] put it. According to Perry, Trickle just needs to “break through [her] private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families,” and embrace the judge’s orders to feed Axle via breast pump during court breaks.

Indeed, this is just the latest example of how the state tries to assume the role of parents by telling them how to raise their children.

Back in August, we documented the case of a Maine mother whose newborn was in danger of being confiscated by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services for feeding her baby a goat’s milk formula [5] instead of the standard GMO-soy concoction.