Open Letter to Judge Marco Roldan

Missouri Court Cites Woman for Bringing Breastfeeding Baby to Jury Duty

A Missouri judge has actually cited a breastfeeding mother for bringing her baby with her to jury duty!  This is the letter I sent him about it.

Judge Marco Roldan
Judge Marco Roldan 

Dear Judge Roldan,

 Like many other women across the nation I’ve learned about your mistreatment of a breastfeeding mother that was called for jury duty under you.  The woman, like any other breastfeeding mother in her situation, brought the baby with her.  Your response was to criminally cite her.
I don’t know you, so I don’t know if your actions are based in a complete disregard for mothers, for breastfeeding, for babies or for women.  It’s difficult to believe that you did not realize that the options that you offered the juror were not realistic and that they would put the baby in danger.
You suggested that the mother leave her baby at home or bring someone with her to take the baby and feed it during breaks.  Leaving aside the question of where the mother could find a babysitter to do this job and how she could pay her, which is not a trivial matter for a stay at home mom, these suggestions show a complete lack of understanding and concerns for the needs of breastfeeding babies.
First of all, breastfed babies are often fed on demand.  The baby cries or behaves in a distinctive way letting the mom know she’s hungry, and then mom picks her up and feeds her.  How often this happens depends on the baby, some do it every half an hour, some every 2 or 3, but the idea of letting a baby cry itself out and be hungry until the mom is ready to feed him has been proven to be cruel and traumatic for babies.
Your suggestion that the mother “pump” is equally ignorant.  Pumping is not something that breastfeeding women, in particular first-time mothers, can casually do. Pumping is an extremely inefficient way of getting milk out.  I was fairly good at it and it would take me 20 minutes hooked to a hospital-grade pump to get 4 oz of milk. If I used an electric one-breast pump, I’d be lucky to get 1 oz in 20 minutes.  That is definitely not enough for a baby.  And it takes time to learn how to pump efficiently.  A mom who has never done it, is unlikely to take on to it immediately.  I did not read that you offered her the services of a lactation consultant or to buy her a state of the art pump so she could serve.
Even if she could pump (and assuming that she would have stayed up the night before to pump so she could leave the milk for the baby), how do you know that the baby in question would take a bottle? Many breastfed babies don’t. It’s either breastfeeding or going hungry.  Do you actually believe it’s OK to let a baby go hungry?
Frankly, your lack of concern for this mother is deeply troubling.  If you treat a woman who is trying to fulfill her civic duty – she actually showed up to jury duty! — with so much contempt, how do you treat criminal defendants? How do you treat any other woman that comes before you?
As an outsider, I cannot believe that you can possibly be a fair judge.  Your lack of concern and humanity prevents that.
Honestly, I think you should resign and find a career where you cannot so easily harm others.
Sincerely,
Margarita Lacabe
a mom

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