Judge scolded me for bringing newborn to court after denying continuance, lawyer alleges

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A Georgia solo practitioner alleges an immigration judge in Atlanta questioned her mothering skills because she brought her weeks-old daughter to court—after the judge denied her motion for a continuance.

Atlanta-area lawyer Stacy Ehrisman-Mickle filed a formal complaint against Judge J. Dan Pelletier Sr. that alleges he scolded her in a court hearing last week, Above the Law reports. The complaint seeks an investigation.

On Sept. 8, Ehrisman-Mickle filed a motion for a continuance of the scheduled Oct. 7 hearing, due to her maternity leave. In denying her motion on Oct. 2, Pelletier wrote, “No good cause. Hearing date set prior to counsel accepting representation.”

Ehrisman-Mickle says she brought her baby to court because she could find no one to care for her. Ehrisman-Mickle’s husband is a truck driver who was out of state, her relatives live elsewhere, and day care centers won’t take children less than 6 weeks old.

“When the IJ saw me with my daughter,” Ehrisman-Mickle wrote, “he was outraged. He scolded me for being inappropriate for bringing her. He questioned the fact that day care centers do not accept infants less than 6 weeks of age. He then questioned my mothering skills as he commented how my pediatrician must be appalled that I am exposing my daughter to so many germs in court. He humiliated me in open court.

“The IJ believes that because I accepted representation knowing the next master calendar hearing was during my maternity leave, I am at fault and undeserving of a continuance to October 24–the day I’m expected to be cleared for return to work by my doctor. Apparently my clients do not deserve to be represented by counsel of their choice if that counsel happens to be a pregnant woman.”

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