Immigration Judge Berates Lawyer For Putting Her Clients' Interests Ahead Of Her Own
October 25, 2014

What? No war on women? Someone needs to tell immigration judge J. Dan Pelletier that, because he just waged it on a new mother who also happens to be an immigration lawyer.

An immigration judge in Atlanta denied an attorney's request to delay a hearing that fell during her six-week maternity leave and then scolded her in front of a packed courtroom when she showed up with her 4-week-old strapped to her chest and the infant began to cry, the attorney said.

Her husband drives a truck. He was on the road, and she had clients who expected their lawyer to be in court representing them unless she was granted a delay.

When Stacy Ehrisman-Mickle took on two young brothers as clients in early September, she immediately filed a request to postpone their next hearing, which was set for a month later, she said. In an order denying her request, Immigration Judge J. Dan Pelletier Sr. wrote, "No good cause. Hearing date set prior to counsel accepting representation."

Except that she knew at least two other instances where lawyers were granted a new hearing date because of maternity leave, so it was reasonable to believe she would also receive that courtesy. Alas, no.

So she did what any responsible professional would do. She called her pediatrician, who told her it would be safe to take her child to court provided she kept the baby strapped to her chest, with her head facing in, and she headed off to the courtroom.

What happened next?

During the hearing, her baby began to cry, and Pelletier scolded her for inappropriate behavior and commented that her pediatrician must be appalled that she was exposing the baby to so many germs in court, she said.

"I was embarrassed. I felt humiliated," she said.

Another lawyer who was present in the courtroom confirmed the details of Ehrisman-Mickle's story. He asked that his name not be used because he doesn't want the judge to retaliate against his clients.

Pelletier finally agreed to delay the hearing until after Ehrisman-Mickle is cleared by her doctor to return to work, she said.

It would have been so much simpler for Pelletier to simply grant the new hearing date after her leave than put her and her child through all of this. But to scold her for doing her job and putting her clients' interests ahead of her own? That's just nasty, misogynistic behavior.

[h/t Daily Kos]

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