Judge Tells Pregnant Mom She Ought to Get a Job to Pay Court Fees

By Carson Eschen

MODESTO, CA – A judge here in Stanislaus County Superior Court this past week suggested that a pregnant defendant find work after her defense attorney stated that she was unable to pay the fees from her no-contest plea.

The defendant was brought in on two misdemeanor cases including charges of trespassing and drug possession.

The hearing took place in Department 3 of Stanislaus Superior Court under Judge Linda McFadden. In the hearing, the defendant pleaded no contest.

McFadden accepted the defendant’s plea, giving her one year of informal probation and orders to stay away from Riverbank High School. She then asked what the defendant’s ability to pay was.

The defendant’s attorney replied that the defendant was currently unable to pay. McFadden responded, “She is young enough that she could probably get a pretty good job.”

She went on to ask if the defendant had graduated high school, and noted that many places were currently looking for workers. She further suggested that the defendant continue her education at college or a trade school.

The defendant’s defense attorney then explained that the defendant was unemployed because she was pregnant.

Judge McFadden replied, “[Being pregnant]’s a lot of stress too, but you’re going to have to support that little kid.” She ultimately dismissed the fees.

Judge McFadden also explained to the defendant that drug use could have serious negative impacts on the baby. She further stated, “You deserve better for yourself, and your child deserves to have a good mom.”

About The Author

Carson Eschen is a fourth year Political Science and Philosophy double major at UC Santa Barbara. He plans on becoming a lawyer.

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