Amber Vazquez Bode thought she was entitled to maternity leave when she had a baby in April. The Austin lawyer was prepared to take it easy for a few months before heading back to work.
Then Justice of the Peace Glenn Bass denied her motion to continue an upcoming case and she found herself forced to appear at court at 9 am on a Monday morning along with her baby.
On the surface it seems like an unfair situation. But would you believe me if I said Bode deserved it?
Having a new baby is undeniably a stressful time and scheduling goes out the window while new parents adjust to the baby. But Bode sent the request for a continuance the day before it was due.
The hearing was on the calendar for almost a month before she send that request.
Bode had also continued the case four times prior to this request, according to Bass. He also noted that she was confrontational in court and threatened her with contempt.
She should probably get a pass on that since she did have to watch her newborn while defending her client.
Women employed in the United States can expect to have some kind of maternity leave thanks to the Family Medical Leave Act. But for a criminal attorney, that right is balanced by the defendant's right to a speedy trial guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment.
In most cases, it's not a problem to continue a case in the event of an unexpected emergency. Notwithstanding all the stress and chaos involved in having a baby, when it will happen is not entirely a mystery. If Bode had sought a continuance earlier (and not sought four previous ones) or if she had associate appear on her behalf, Bass probably wouldn't have forced her into court.
All's well that ends well though. Despite scheduling problems and the fact that she was technically on maternity leave, Amber Vazquez Bode won the case for her client and all charges were dropped.
The nonappearance of several witnesses may have contributed to her victory, according to Bass. But at the end of the day a win is a win - especially when you're carrying a baby.
- Lawyer on Maternity Leave Brings Baby to Court When Trial Delay Is Denied (Above The Law)
- Should Parents Get Paid Maternity Leave? (The Houston Employment Law Blog)
- Most Mothers Don't Take More Than 12 Weeks of Maternity Leave (The Houston Employment Law Blog)