A stay-at-home mother claims she was shamed for not having childcare by a California judge who told her: ‘I don’t care about your children’ when she asked to be excused from jury duty.
In a Facebook post, Christa Pehl Evans recounted the humiliating encounter with Judge James Petrucelli when she reported for jury duty on November 20 in Fresno, California.
Evans said that during the jury selection process she raised her hand to be excused, telling the judge that she needed to be home with her children under the age of seven, one who is still being breastfed and two others whom she homeschools.
She wrote on Facebook that Petrucelli responded to her by saying: ‘I don’t care about your children’ and asked ‘Who is going to take care of your children when you get hit by a mack truck? What do you do when you are sick?’
When she replied: ‘I take care of my kids,’ the judge ‘shook his head at me with a disgusted expression on his face’, Evans wrote.
She said the exchange in front of the entire courtroom culminated in Petrucelli saying to her and another very pregnant woman with a 20-month-old child: ‘I just don’t understand these people with no childcare.’
There are court records that verify Evans’ claims, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Stay-at-home mom Christa Pehl Evans (pictured) has spoken out against a judge in Fresno, California, who she claims viciously insulted her for not having childcare when she asked to be excused from jury duty to take care of her three children under the age of seven
Evans claims Judge James Petrucelli (pictured) told her: ‘I don’t care about your children’ when she asked to be excused from jury duty in Fresno Superior Court on November 20
Evans was ultimately selected to serve on the jury for a trial that was expected to last two weeks.
In her now-viral Facebook post, Evans wrote: ‘There were almost 300 people at the courthouse called to serve jury duty, and Judge James Petrucelli chose to berate two mothers of young children.
‘In contrast 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.’
The mother, who has a PhD from Princeton, said that being a mother has been the most challenging job of her life so far, writing: ‘I am more than happy to serve on the jury when my children are older, but my most important duty to this country at this moment is to raise loving human beings, a job that consumes me all day and many nights.’
‘Until we respect mothering as a valid and important occupation, we have a major sexist problem. Paid work is not the only work that matters.’
Evans, who has a PhD from Princeton, detailed the exchange with Petrucelli in a Facebook post after she was selected to serve on a jury for a two-week trial. The mom expressed that she needed to be at home to homeschool her two older children and breastfeed the youngest
As of Saturday morning more than 1,700 people have commented on Evans’ post, with roughly half slamming the judge for his ‘sexist’ remarks while the rest accused the mother of being unreasonable.
One woman wrote: ‘Just tell that ignorant judge that the wives husbands will have to take off work and no income will be earned because they have to watch the children. And the baby will be brought into the courtroom when it is time to breastfeed.’
Another person commented: ‘Oh boo f**king hoo. Being a stay at home isn’t a full time job and it’s not an excuse to miss jury duty. Quit using your crotch fruit as an excuse.’
Until we respect mothering as a valid and important occupation, we have a major sexist problem.
A couple commenters posted links to a 2015 story about detailing how Petrucelli committed judicial misconduct by ordering correctional officers to release from jail a friend facing spousal abuse charges.
Others noted that in the state of California, lack of childcare is not a valid excuse for getting off jury duty, but caretakers can postpone their service up to one year.
The law states: ‘The prospective juror has a personal obligation to provide actual and necessary care to another, including sick, aged, or infirm dependents, or a child who requires the prospective juror’s personal care and attention, and no comparable substitute care is either available or practical without imposing an undue economic hardship on the prospective juror or person cared for.
‘If the request to be excused is based on care provided to a sick, disabled, or infirm person, the prospective juror may be required to furnish verification or a method of verification that the person being cared for is in need of regular and personal care.’
Evans’ Facebook post about the humiliating experience is seen in full above