Judge Tells Mom How He Could Care Less About Her Children When She Tries To Be Excused From Jury Duty

In Fresno, California, a mother of three was shamed by a judge after not having childcare. 

Along with shaming another mom, the judge did not hold back when speaking to the stay-at-home mother.

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Holding a PhD from Princeton along with her children all being under the age of 7, Christa Pehl Evans says that “being a mother is the hardest job I’ve ever done.” 

Evans breastfeeds her youngest as well as home-schools her two other children. 

On November 20th, she reported for jury duty, requesting to be excused from serving to take care of her kids — when Judge James Petrucelli made an offensive and insulting comment about being a mother. 

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In a Facebook post, Petrucelli informed both Evans and another woman who was also pregnant how he did not care about their kids as well as questioning why they did not have access in the first place to childcare according to court documents the Sacramento Bee, states. 

“Yesterday I was selected to be a member of the jury on a trial that would continue for the week after Thanksgiving. I am a homeschooling mother of three, including a 16-month-old nursing baby that I have never left for an entire day, much less over a week. I do not need to defend the importance of motherhood—we have known for hundreds of years that the mental, emotional, and spiritual health of us as adults depends largely on the care and nurturing we receive in these early years. (Want to know more about that in the 18th century? I address it in my PhD thesis.)

When I asked to be excused because I need to care for my children, these are things Judge James Petrucelli (Dept. 61, Fresno Superior Courthouse) said to me:

“I don’t care about your children.”

“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?” I replied, “I take care of my kids,” and he shook his head at me with a disgusted expression on his face.

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“What do you do when you have to do something?” I replied, “I take my baby.”

And then, obviously directed at me and the other very pregnant mother of a 20 month old:

“I just don’t understand these people with no childcare.”

His conversation with me went on and on in front of the entire courtroom.

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.

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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. Caring for Sylvia has been more challenging for me than graduate school ever was.

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. Paid work is not the only work that matters.

After being verbally assaulted for mothering my children, Judge Petrucelli wants me back in three weeks to serve jury duty again.

We don’t need more laws, people—we need more love.”

At first, Petrucelli first denied the comments in Evan’s Facebook post but after going over the court transcripts, he stood by what he said in an interview with the Sacramento Bee.

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And in regards to the Mack truck comment — he claimed, “I have said that to people before, to make a point about what happens if there’s an emergency,” saying, “I do have a tendency to get people’s attention.”

Petrucelli did not apologize for his comments, truly believing they were not offensive nor hateful.  

“Why wouldn’t somebody call me and have me apologize if they’re offended? It is not my job or thought process to offend anybody. I do this every day. We have thousands and thousands and thousands of jurors come through,” he shared. “I mean, I have so many people come up to me away from court and tell me what a wonderful experience it was to be in my courtroom and so on.”

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