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Breast feeding and court


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Anyone know what the federal laws (or Florida State Laws) are regarding nursing mothers in court?

 

I have a 13 week old infant and a court date on Monday with my *fabulous* ex-landlord and our *wonderful* judge. NO ONE in court knows anything and I was told it's up to the judge what they will let me do. LET??? You're gonna "let" me feed my baby so he doesn't starve?????? Gee, thanks.

 

This judge will UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE let babies in the court room. Although other judges turn a blind eye when necessary.

 

My best friend will be holding him in the hallway - I will try to hand express some milk - he's never had a bottle and I can't afford to buy a pump right now.

 

I really hate idiot landlords and the disgusting evil judicial system that cares not if they slum. Too bad lawyers are expensive and just fuel the fire that is this awful mess.

 

ANyway - I digress - anyone know of any breast feeding laws?

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If infants are not allowed in court, then breastfeeding in court would prove pretty difficult. On the other hand, if the officer that mans the door is nice, sometimes they are willing to listen for your name and hollar for you when your case gets called.

 

I was in a similar situation, but thankfully our case was in and out pretty quick. If you have someone willing to sit (outside the courtroom) with the baby, then your little one should be fine. Just make sure they're full before you go in.

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ANyway - I digress - anyone know of any breast feeding laws?

 

(federal) precedent says a mother has a right to breastfeed any place she is legally allowed to be. I would assume that this would include courtrooms, since they are open to the public, in public buildings. However, I'm not sure you can tell a judge that he is required to allow infants into his courtroom.

 

I would arrive early and instruct the bailiff and court reporter (or the judge himself) that you have your infant and will, therefore, be in the hall until your case is called. There shouldn't be a problem with someone sticking their head out to call you, particularly if they already know you're there.

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Don't you feed the baby every 2 hours or so? The case probably won't last 20 minutes. I don't see this as a rights issue, its a respect for the court issue. Children aren't allowed in the courtroom because they can be disruptive and distracting. Cases go quickly. Let the Bailiff or clerk know you are in the hall with your baby. People that work in the courts are just like you and me. Judges are real people, too.

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Don't you feed the baby every 2 hours or so? The case probably won't last 20 minutes. I don't see this as a rights issue, its a respect for the court issue. Children aren't allowed in the courtroom because they can be disruptive and distracting. Cases go quickly. Let the Bailiff or clerk know you are in the hall with your baby. People that work in the courts are just like you and me. Judges are real people, too.

 

:iagree:

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However, I think that asserting the law might hurt your primary case--the reason that you're actually there--by making you look like a troublemaker who is unreasonable or has an authority problem or something like that.

 

Now, I'm not saying that that's right, but I suspect that that is reality. If it were me, I would strategically try to focus on the court case while in court, and not attempt to bring the baby inside with me at all.

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If infants are not allowed in court, then breastfeeding in court would prove pretty difficult. On the other hand, if the officer that mans the door is nice, sometimes they are willing to listen for your name and hollar for you when your case gets called.

 

I was in a similar situation, but thankfully our case was in and out pretty quick. If you have someone willing to sit (outside the courtroom) with the baby, then your little one should be fine. Just make sure they're full before you go in.

 

We are past that point - although when we went the first time for pretrial, we did have a grandad deputy who did just that for me.

This court date is scheduled for witnesses and all kinds of stuff - we have 6 hours reserved for it. Hopefully we will not need that much time!

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I agree with what others have said. While you have a right to breastfeed in court, if the judge is against it, it won't help you to force the issue. I'd try to talk to the bailiff about it. Maybe he would be willing to let you know when your case is almost up so you can nurse her right before your turn.

 

I had a three day court case when my daughter was about 6 months old (before she started solids at any rate). My husband took the days off work and spent them sitting in the hallway with her while I was in the courtroom since it was specifically me involved in the case. My attorney explained to the judge that I had a nursing infant. He didn't want the disruption of a crying infant in the courtroom but was willing to let me quietly come and go to nurse her. A few times when she was sleeping, my husband was able to come into the courtroom with her.

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Have you talked to your attorney? Does he/she say you have to be in the court room the entire trial? You may be able to be marked present at the start then leave until you are called as a witness. Your attorney should arrange for a short recess just before you are called.

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Have you talked to your attorney? Does he/she say you have to be in the court room the entire trial? You may be able to be marked present at the start then leave until you are called as a witness. Your attorney should arrange for a short recess just before you are called.

 

Due to the fact that an attorney is $5,000 - we will not have one.

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This was several years ago, so take that for what it's worth. It was in New Jersey, though.

 

We had to be in family court when our son was just a couple of months old. He was breast feeding and had never had a bottle. Our experience with this court was that we were often kept waiting for hours before we were finally called in. So, leaving the baby with a sitter just long enough to go to court was not a reasonable option.

 

I brought him along and, sure enough, we sat in the waiting room for at least three hours. He was asleep in my arms when we were called but woke up and started fussing when we moved into the court room. In an effort to keep him quiet, I (very discreetly) started nursing him.

 

The judge hit the ceiling. Mind you, he had to ask in order to be sure I was actually feeding the baby. In other words, he couldn't even see what I was doing. But it bothered him to even know it was happening. He kicked us out of the courtroom, rescheduling us for another day and threatened me with contempt if I did the same thing next time.

 

I filed a complaint with the judicial oversight committee and, in general, made a rather big stink, citing the federal law. No one ever responded to me in a meaningful way. Instead, I was notified that the Essex County court would make available a room for nursing mothers. And then, because that was supposed to solve my "problem," I was notified that my complaint was being closed without any investigation or action.

 

Of course, all of you intelligent and observant people will see that having a room made available for nursing would NOT have resolved my situation, since I couldn't be in the courtroom AND in that room and I couldn't feed my infant in the courtroom. In "family court," which, I thought, was supposed to be concerned with the best interests of children.

 

Sigh.

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I would recommend that you contact the Judge's Law Clerk (every judge has at least one, possibly several depending on the volume of cases) and explain your situation. Tell him or her that you certainly respect the Judge's rule that infants not be allowed in the courtroom, but that you are nursing a newborn that cannot take a bottle. Make it clear that you want to abide by the judge's wishes but that you are certain, given the predicted length of your proceeding, that you will have to nurse a few times throughout the course of the day. Ask him or her what they suggest. I am certain that if you present your case in a respectful manner the clerk will work with you to figure out a solution.

 

If you need help determining the name of your judge's law clerk, let me know and I will try to find it for you. I work in the legal field and I'll be happy to help if I can.

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I would recommend that you contact the Judge's Law Clerk (every judge has at least one, possibly several depending on the volume of cases) and explain your situation. Tell him or her that you certainly respect the Judge's rule that infants not be allowed in the courtroom, but that you are nursing a newborn that cannot take a bottle. Make it clear that you want to abide by the judge's wishes but that you are certain, given the predicted length of your proceeding, that you will have to nurse a few times throughout the course of the day. Ask him or her what they suggest. I am certain that if you present your case in a respectful manner the clerk will work with you to figure out a solution.

 

If you need help determining the name of your judge's law clerk, let me know and I will try to find it for you. I work in the legal field and I'll be happy to help if I can.

 

Thanks.

I already spoke her and she said I could address the Judge that morning......

Mean People Suck!

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that you should try what smg suggested when you get there that morning. The more respectful you can be, the better for you. This is coming from a La Leche League member who nursed both children for over two years-I am as PRO breastfeeding in public as it gets, to the extreme. But in the interest of your court case, court-even family court- is NOT the place to stand up for your breastfeeding rights (unfortunately, the ultimate paradox.)

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Worse come to worse, ask for a continuence, until your little one is capable of going a few hours between feedings, or taking a bottle.

 

Kids are not allowed in court for a reason. While it's always fun to trample over the rights of other people while waving the banner of "it's MY right" over your head, please remember that a court room is a place for (hopefully) justice to be served. Children and babies are excluded from court rooms to protect the rights of those awaiting justice, so their cases can be heard, etc. It is not a violation of your rights to say your child is not allowed in the court room.

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