Alabama Hall of Shame

(Last updated August 28, 2005)

If you have been mistreated by the Courts in this way, or if you know of others that have, please click on the letter to e-mail me and share your story!

Alabama

Brandi Guerrero of Helena, Alabama received a summons to appear for jury duty from the Circuit Court of Shelby County, Alabama on June, 2005

 

At this time, Brandi was an at-home mother of four children under the age of 6 (including a nursing infant), home-schooler, and primary caregiver for her grandmother with Alzheimer’s Disease. She called the jury clerk’s office, explained her situation, and politely requested to be excused because of her extensive care giving responsibilities.

 

The clerk told Brandi that those were not excusable circumstances and she still had to report for jury duty! 

 

When Brandi showed up at the courthouse, it never occurred to her that she would not be excused from jury duty.  She had no idea how uncaring this particular court was...

 

She reported for jury duty with her infant daughter while her husband took off from work and watched their other 3 children.  After sitting there for more than an hour, the judge finally “allowed” anyone who thought they needed to be deferred to approach the bench.  Brandi asked to be deferred explaining that she had 4 children to care for.  She also told the judge that she nursed the baby often so she could not leave her.  Brandi told the judge she would be glad to serve jury duty when her children were older, but she was unable to serve right now.

The judge’s condescending response was, You need to go find a sitter and be back here by 11:30.  They make provision for breastfeeding called a ‘breast pump’ and a ‘collection bottle’.  Make use of one and be back here by 11:30! It was 10:00 at the time.  Brandi’s mouth dropped open and the judge just said “Next!” as if she were not standing there at all. 

 

So, in the 1-1/2 hours she had before her service, Brandi had to quickly enlist the help of some close friends to take care of her family.

It was even more difficult to breastfeed her baby…  Another friend had to carry the infant to Brandi during the short, infrequent, and unpredictable courtroom breaks...

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