Imagine that you’re a lawyer on maternity leave, and you find out on a Friday — somewhat short notice, but you have the weekend to sort things out — that your request for a trial delay has been denied. You have to go to court on Monday. What would you do in that kind of a situation?
While some would simply ask a family member to watch the baby, others would hit the babysitter’s number on speed dial in a heart beat. Others would farm the case out to a competent colleague. And others still would dump the baby off at the local daycare center that specialized in newborns. Each of these options seems reasonably workable.
But Amber Vazquez Bode, the lawyer this actually happened to, wasn’t having it. Interrupt my maternity leave? Screw you, judge, I’m bringing my baby to court….
Apparently a member of Justice of the Peace Glenn Bass’s staff informed Bode, a criminal defense attorney, on June 1 that her request to delay a trial scheduled for the following Monday had been denied. The request for the delay was filed on May 31. The case was six years old, and Bode had already received four delays. The trial date was set 25 days before the hearing.
The Austin American-Statesman has the details of what went down in court earlier this week:
On Monday, Bode arrived in court with her infant. Bode said she had planned to take an eight- to 10-week maternity leave to recover from a cesarean section. …
“Ms. Bode was confrontational when addressing the court,” Bass’ office said in a statement. “Judge Bass cautioned her about the possibility of contempt if she continued addressing the court in this manner.”
After court, Bode took her frustration to Facebook. “My baby was completely freaking out,” she wrote. “The whole thing was out of hand!”
Bode was “confrontational”? Really? One would assume that the good judge would be confrontational too if he were forced to bring an infant to court for a trial. But really, Bode had almost a month to request another delay, and yet she failed to do so in a timely fashion. Yes, many unexpected things can come up when you’re a new mother, but this wasn’t exactly the most professional thing that Bode could have done.
But even given the circumstances, Bode still managed to prevail for her client — all of the charges against him were dismissed. Imagine all of the great marketing ploys that will come of this for new clients who wish to suckle upon the teat of justice: “Can your lawyer win a case while holding a newborn? I can!”
Lawyer on maternity leave says judge denied her trial delay request [Austin American-Statesman]
Lawyer on Maternity Leave Brings Baby to Court After Judge Refuses Trial Delay Request [ABA Journal]