The Lee’s Summit woman at the center of a national media firestorm was quiet days after news broke that she faced a contempt of court charge for bringing her infant child to jury duty selection.
Laura Trickle faces a show-cause hearing Oct. 24 before Jackson County Presiding Judge Marco Roldan to answer a charge of contempt of court for bringing her infant child to court without other arrangements for the child’s care while she performed “her civic duty.”
The case, first reported Oct. 18 in the Kansas City Star, eventually made headline news across the country, but a reporter from the Journal seeking comment from Trickle Oct. 22 was greeted with a sign posted on the family’s front door that stated all media request for comments were being denied.
The sign noted the media’s interest in Trickle’s case, but also referenced her infant son Axel’s need for sleep as well as rest for the entire family.
According to the Star, Trickle responded Jan. 23 to a jury duty notice, but applied for and received a postponement because she was pregnant. She delivered Axel in March.
On Aug. 9, after receiving another summons, Trickle informed court officials she was breastfeeding, but she soon received notice that she must report to court as well as arrange for child care or bring somebody with her who could care for the child during jury selection.
The Star, citing court records, reported that on Sept. 3, Trickle “willfully and contemptuously appeared for jury service with her child and no one to care for the child.”
Roldan, while declining to discuss Trickle’s specific case, told the Star that breastfeeding Jackson County mothers have two options.
One is to use occasional breaks during jury service to use a private room to pump milk and store it, feeding it to their children later. The second option is to bring a caregiver to the courthouse to watch the child during trial proceedings and then take the child to a private room to breastfeed.
“I am very protective of our jurors,” Roldan said. “They are the foundation of our system.”
But Trickle told the Star that she has no child care options. She stays at home while Axel’s father works.
“Axel doesn’t take a bottle,” Trickle said.
About 1,000 potential jurors report downtown every month, Roldan said. But the number of judges needing juries varies, and sometimes fewer jurors may be assigned to cases.
“About 50 percent are not even going to go upstairs to a case,” Roldan said.
The Star also reported that breastfeeding women in Kansas and 11 other states are exempted from jury duty. Legislation introduced by a St. Joseph physician and state senator would exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty across Missouri.