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Stacy Ehrisman-Mickle took on a pair of brothers as clients in early September. Knowing that she had a six-week maternity leave coming up, she immediately filed a request to postpone the hearing. After a month, and with only a week until the hearing, Judge J. Dan Pelletier Sr. denied her request, stating: "No good cause. Hearing date set prior to counsel accepting representation," reports The Associated Press.
On October 7, 2014, with her husband out of town on work, no friends or family in the area, and no daycare willing to take a 4-week-old baby, Ehrisman-Mickle showed up to court with her baby strapped to her chest -- after clearing it with her pediatrician. When her child began to cry, Judge Pelletier publicly scolded her for her behavior and questioned her parenting, commenting that she was exposing her child to many germs in court.
Judge Pelletier eventually delayed the hearing, while Ehrisman-Mickle filed a formal complaint the same day.
Did the Judge Have a Point?
No, not at all, but let's play devil's advocate for a second.
Ehrisman-Mickle knew that she would be taking leave at the time of the already scheduled hearing, yet agreed to represent the two brothers. And though no childcare options were available, wasn't there a colleague or an appearance attorney that she could've retained instead of disrupting the court with a crying child?
No. The Judge Really Screwed Up.
First of all, Ehrisman-Mickle had two identical stay requests approved by other judges. With the number of cases flowing through these courts, a continuance of the hearing probably would have been no big deal.
Second, it was the judge who waited until the week prior to deny the motion, leaving Ehrisman-Mickle with an impossible choice: Bring her infant to court or leave her clients hanging. She chose the former, and chose wisely.
(Above the Law has copies of her motion and Judge Pelletier's Order, by the way.)
Third, who the hell is this judge to tell a woman how to be a parent to her child? She ran it by her pediatrician, and was forced to come to court by his unreasonable denial of her continuance motion.
To me, this sounds like a case of a cranky judge making a terrible judgment call, but let's hear from you: Is there a defense for the judge's ruling? Tweet us @FindLawLP.