A judge in California berated a stay-at-home mom who asked to be excused from jury duty for a trial that would have lasted more than a week because she needed to breastfeed her youngest child and teach her homeschooled children.
In an interview with The Fresno Bee, Christa Pehl Evans said Judge James Petrucelli told her he “doesn’t care” about her children — all three of whom are under the age of seven — and proceeded to bully the potential juror in front of hundreds of people.
Evans wrote in a Facebook post a couple weeks ago that the judge asked her, “Who is going to take care of your children when you get hit by a Mack truck?” and, “What do you do when you are sick?”
Petrucelli reportedly then told Evans he’s “amazed that people don’t have child care available to them.”
The young mother then pointed out that the judge treated the men in the room differently. She wrote, “The man in the room asking to get off the jury because he needed money from his job to support his family was not questioned. Judge Petrucelli simply nodded his head in agreement with him.”
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“We can #MeToo all we want about sexual assault, but until we respect mothering as a valid and important occupation, we have a major sexist problem,” she wrote. “Paid work is not the only work that matters.”
As for Evans’ jury duty, Petrucelli excused her from serving, but ordered her to report back in January.
After initially denying his strong words, the California judge owned his words when the Bee showed him a transcript of his mean-spirited comments to Evans.
“It’s my responsibility to ask those questions. I’m not offended by anything I said,” he told the newspaper. “But people have different sensitivities. … I do have a tendency to get people’s attention. There’s no two ways about it.”