Breastfeeding Mom Charged With Contempt Over Jury Duty

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on October 22, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A breastfeeding mom in Missouri is being held in contempt of court for showing up to jury duty with her child.

But was the breastfeeding mother actually entitled to a jury duty exemption?

Jury Duty: No Breastfeeding Exemption in Missouri

Breastfeeding laws aim to protect and promote the many health benefits of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding women are exempted from jury duty in 12 states. But Missouri is not among those states.

Legislation introduced by Sen. Rob Schaaf, a physician in St. Joseph, would exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty in Missouri. Until such legislation passes, however, breastfeeding mothers in Missouri have two options: they can pump or nurse on breaks or bring someone along to care for their children when serving as jurors, according to The Kansas City Star.


When you miss jury duty, a judge can find you in contempt of court.

Contempt typically arises out of situations where someone has defied the court's authority, cast disrespect on the court, or has impeded the court's ability to perform its functions.

Who knew breastfeeding could be an act of disruptive defiance and disrespect?

Laura Trickle, the vigilante breastfeeding mother, was held in civil contempt after she showed up to court for jury duty with her son in tow -- without someone to supervise him, reports The City Star.

This was in direct violation of the two options: pump and leave the baby at home or bring a day-care provider.

No Hardship Exemption

Missouri statutes allow for exemptions only when a juror would face "an undue or extreme physical or financial hardship," according to The City Star.

Trickle said she was a stay-at-home mother and had no child-care provider. The mother also said she couldn't pump milk and leave her son at home because he, like many babies, won't take a bottle.

Jackson County Presiding Judge Marco Roldan did not find her hardship reasons compelling and issued a court order stating that she "willfully and contemptuously appeared for jury service with her child and no one to care for the child."

Trickle could face a fine of up to $500 if she is found guilty of civil contempt.

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