A stay-at-home mother of three felt humiliated by a Fresno, Calif., judge, whom she alleges insulted her, along with another mother, for not having childcare.
Christa Pehl Evans, whose children are all under the age of 7, holds a PhD from Princeton, but admits that “being a mother is the hardest job I’ve ever done.” On Nov. 20, she reported for jury duty and raised her hand in court to be excused from serving, as she needed to take care of her children; Pehl Evans breastfeeds her youngest and homeschools her two other children. That is when Judge James Petrucelli allegedly insulted the mother for her choice to remain at home and appeared to be, according to Pehl Evans, anti-woman and anti-mother.
According to her Facebook post, Petrucelli told Pehl Evans and another woman who was also pregnant, “I don’t care about your children,” as well as, “Who is going to take care of your children when you get hit by a Mack truck” and, “I just don’t understand these people with no childcare.” Court documents support these claims, according to the Sacramento Bee.
“His conversation with me went on and on in front of the entire courtroom,” Pehl Evans wrote in her post. “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.”
In an interview with the Sacramento Bee, Petrucelli initially denied saying the comments listed on Pehl Evans’s Facebook post. However, after reviewing the court transcripts, he stood by his remarks.
Regarding the Mack truck comment, he excused himself by saying, “I have said that to people before, to make a point about what happens if there’s an emergency,” adding, “I do have a tendency to get people’s attention.”
Petrucelli does not believe his comments were offensive or 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 told the news outlet. “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.”