About 30 Tri-City moms, toddlers, babies and supporters gathered Monday at the Benton County Justice Center in Kennewick to rally for a change in state law that would allow nursing moms to ask for long-term deferments from jury duty.
Their desire to see a family friendly jury duty law started when Richland mom Amanda Walley had trouble getting her jury service deferred.
Although Walley was able to get a three-month deferment approved by a Superior Court judge last week, she and others still showed up for a few hours Monday with picket signs to make their point and to encourage a change in state law.
Two deferrals -- each up to a year long -- can be granted by the clerk's office before a potential juror must get approval by a judge for a third request. At that point, a person can send a letter explaining to a judge why she still can't serve.
Some of the moms were surprised to find out Monday that they could request a deferment for a full year.
Benton County Clerk Josie Delvin came out to talk with the people at the rally and explain their options, Campbell said.
Delvin said they don't publicize the longer deferments because they don't want to see that abused. A potential juror needs a valid reason to ask for a deferment, such as an illness.
Walley was pregnant with Aiden, now 51/2 months, and on modified bed rest when she received her first deferment for jury duty. She was next summoned, and deferred, when her son was 2 weeks old.
While a new law could come later, the mothers have already brought some change in the Tri-Cities.
Delvin said they were giving people a three-month deferment from being summoned for jury duty if they didn't ask for a specific amount of time. But starting last week, the judges are now giving a full year when someone doesn't specify the month they can serve.
It's a small change for the court but should be a big change for potential jurors, she said.