You can make a Difference —  Tawni Johnson

(Last updated

December 15, 2005)

Tawni Johnson

When Tawni Johnson was called for jury duty in March of 1999 it was Civic duty vs. child duty. For Tawni, a 30-year-old mother from Hillsboro, Oregon, there’s no question that her 13-month old son, Brady, came first. 


Even though she was still nursing her child when called, the Court required her to report for jury duty or face contempt charges.  “It’s my decision to nurse,” she said, “but is it their decision to tell me I can’t?”


The Johnson’s could not afford day care and Tawni’s husband could not get time off to stay home with their son while she was at jury duty.


When Tawni was unable to postpone her jury service, she complained to the court, the media and her legislators that she was being told, in effect, that she couldn’t nurse her son and that she would be forced to leave him.  Brady didn’t drink from a bottle and has never been without his mother for more than a couple hours at a time.


Fortunately for Tawni, her state representative, Sen. Charles Starr, R-Hillsboro, intervened with the Court, allowing Tawni to finally be excused from jury duty.


Tawni’s conviction to do the right thing for her child prompted Sen. Starr and Sen. John Lim, R-Gresham to sponsor a bill excusing sole caregivers of a child or other dependent from jury duty.  The bill was signed into law by the Governor of Oregon on September 1, 1999.


Thank you Tawni, for your courage to speak up for what is right. 

Your efforts have helped families and children everywhere!



·          “Mother’s Time is up:  Join County Jury Pool or Else”, The Oregonian, April 2, 1999, by Holly Danks

·          “Oregon Court tells Breast-feeding Mother she must Report for Jury Duty”, The Seattle Times, April 4, 1999

·          “Nursing Mother wins excuse from Jury Duty”, The Oregonian, April 19, 1999, by Holly Danks

Tawni Johnson and her son, Brady

You can make a difference!

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Tawni’s story (Oregon)

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