New mom says she was reprimanded for bringing baby to court

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ATLANTA —

A Gwinnett County attorney filed a complaint against a federal judge after she says he reprimanded her for bringing her baby to court.

Attorney Stacy Ehrisman-Mickle says she filed a motion for a continuance, and provided a doctor’s note, which recommended she stay on maternity leave for six weeks.

“Counsel for the respondents is a solo practitioner and does not have another attorney in the firm that may appear on her behalf,” Ehrisman-Mickle wrote in her motion. The opposing counsel did not oppose her motion.

Judge J. Dan Pellettier, Sr. denied the motion, saying she showed “no good cause” and that the “hearing date (was) set prior to counsel accepting representation.”

Ehrisman-Mickle says she found out on a Friday that the continuance had been denied for the next Tuesday. She says she made efforts to find child care, but couldn’t, and no daycare would accept her baby, who was under 6 weeks old. 

Ehrisman-Mickle says she was left with no choice but to bring her baby to court with her.

She says when she arrived, her child started to cry and the judge began to reprimand her for bringing the child to court, calling it “inappropriate.”

“Not only do you slap me in the face and deny my request for maternity leave, you embarrassed me in front of a full courtroom,” Ehrisman-Mickle told Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman, after she says she was forced to bring the child to U.S Immigration Court in Atlanta.  

Ehrisman-Mickle says Pelletier told her “your pediatrician must be appalled that you brought your child here and exposed her to all of these germs.”

She says after a conversation, Pellettier ultimately gave her a continuance to Oct. 28, right after her maternity leave is over.  However, she says she is upset with the way he handled the situation.

“I was shocked and embarrassed and humiliated and even now I can’t believe it happened,” she says.

The complaint she filed is being investigated, but she says she is coming forward with a message to working mothers.

“I think the country needs to start to re-evaluate maternity leave and realize it is not just a vacation for moms to hang out and relax, it is a time for bonding and it is really important for the child,” she says. 

The judge would not comment on his decision.