A nursing mother in court claimed a judge said she would be held in contempt of court if she brought her feeding baby back to her traffic case.
However, Danielle Bell didn’t know what to do because her baby needed to eat.
The mother of 3-month-old Penelope told WRAL that she was breastfeeding her child in a sling while waiting for her traffic court case to be called.
The child was covered, but a judge told her to leave because no kids under 12 were allowed in the courtroom.
Bell then left her daughter with her husband in the hallway and came back to speak with District Court Judge Resson Faircloth about her predicament, and she was told to not bring her child back into the courtroom even though state and federal laws permit public feeding.
The mother told the judge:
“If I leave her home, she’s unable to eat.
He then replied to me that was not his problem and that, if I had any other excuse, he was going to take her that day and have me put in contempt. And that’s when I walked out of the courtroom crying.”
“I definitely have fear of going back to the courthouse. I am worried about the consequences that will happen.”
WRAL confirmed that, according to judges in other counties, no children under 12 are permitted in the courtroom to minimize disruptions during proceedings — though laws permit women to nurse their children in public spaces.
The mother, who returns to court on May 20, said she felt “discriminated against.” She added:
“This is the way she survives — by breastfeeding — because she refuses a bottle.”
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Several judges reportedly said the no-children-under-12 rule is at the judge’s discretion.
Bell said she doesn’t go anywhere without her 3-month-old, but she was reportedly told to figure it out to avoid jail time.