No jury duty for nursing moms

September 2, 2008
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According to a recent article from the National Law Journal, more and more states have passed laws exempting nursing mothers from jury service. Indiana isn’t one of those states, although we have a new law in effect regarding nursing mothers at work. Under Indiana Jury Rule 7, judges can authorize the deferral of jury duty if the person summoned can show a hardship, extreme inconvenience, or necessity for not serving. Also, each county may have different explanations of who can be excused from jury duty – yet no county specifies nursing mothers.

So, it’s up to the judge to decide whether an Indiana mother who is nursing is experiencing a hardship, inconvenience, or necessity to be excused. If it’s an understanding judge, he or she may excuse the mother and defer her service, and a law exempting nursing mothers would be unnecessary. However, if the judge doesn’t view breastfeeding as a necessity or extreme inconvenience, perhaps a law would be a good idea. But whether nursing is a valid excuse to defer jury duty is up to the General Assembly to decide.

Some women could make a good argument that breastfeeding children is a necessity and should be a valid reason to defer jury duty, especially if they end up on a jury that is sequestered for days or even weeks. However, some women are able to breastfeed their children with little interruption in their lives outside of the home. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, recently told People magazine that she finds time to breastfeed in the middle of the night. If a politician traveling around the country campaigning can still nurse, can’t a mother who has been called to serve on a jury?
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  • Trying to balance breastfeeding with jury duty is a challenge I doubt even Sarah Palin would be able to handle!
    For starters, most courts would not allow an infant to be present with the mother. This leaves the option of pumping. Pray tell, WHERE would a mother be able to pump, given that courtrooms are not set up to accommodate nursing mothers as many workplaces are. She would most likely have to pump in a restroom... How many of you would like to eat a meal prepared in a BATHROOM?!
    In addition to the constraints of finding a place to nurse, another problem arises with timing. What happens when a mother needs to nurse and can\'t? She could end up leaking, causing her embarassment, or worse, she could end up in pain. Nursing women who can\'t express their milk when needed often get serious infections in their breasts and must seek medical treatment.
    Bottom line, then, WHY put a mother and baby through all of this when she can be allowed serve on a jury at a later time? Do the courts really want a nursing mother in their juries when they may be in pain?
    Also, Is it appropriate that Indiana state law currently allows deferral of nursing mothers to be decided by the whim of a jury clerk or a judge who may or may not have any knowledge in this area that is not in their primary field of knowledge...

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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