(Last updated December 12, 2005)

Ohio Hall of SHAME! P1


A stay-at-home mother was found in contempt of court and fined by the judge after she took her two small children (ages 1 & 3) with her to jury selection in Coshocton, Ohio!  Even though Ohio contempt laws have no specific restrictions regarding children in courtrooms, Nerissa T. Foor of West Lafayette, Ohio was nevertheless summoned to appear before the judge because of her “conduct” (bringing her children to court) on August 27, 2003.


Although Nerissa had previously written a letter to the court explaining she could not find a baby sitter on short notice, she was embarrassed and humiliated by the judge when he told her he was sure that if Nerissawanted to go out on a Friday night with her husband, she could find a babysitter. 

This callous statement uncalled for, because:

·          Nerissa and her husband have never used babysitters.

·          She could not ask her parents to baby sit, as they were in their 70’s, not in good health, and lived over 4 hours away. 

·          She did not have any close friends who could care for her children, as she only recently moved to the Coshocton area.

·          Most nearby daycare providers did not accept children for short periods of time.

What the judge said...



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In a 9/18/03 editorial the judge wrote to the Coshocton (Ohio) Tribune regarding this incident, he provided the following (erroneous) reason for his not granting jury service deferral to Nerissa:

By law I can only excuse jurors if jury service would create an undue hardship...Parenthood has never been considered an undue hardship or a valid reason to avoid jury service.” 

(It seems “His Honor”  is unaware of the numerous states, U.S. territories and U.S. Federal Courts which DO defer at-home parents from jury duty.

Click here to view a comprehensive, multi-page listing of these courts.)

This Coshocton Municipal Judge’s mind-set was further revealed when he went on to write, “If bringing small children along were known as a way to avoid jury service, some people would be borrowing children from their neighbors.” 

Excerpts taken from:

·          “Woman fined for taking two kids to jury selection”, The Columbus Dispatch, September 11, 2003

·          “A Lesson in civic responsibility”, Editorial section, Coshocton Tribune, September 18, 2003

·          “Options not offered in Jury Duty dispute”, Editorial section, Coshocton Tribune, September 22, 2003

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