A prosecutor with the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office filed a motion in Superior Court last week to get a lawyer with the Independent Defender's Office kicked off a murder case because she plans to take time off to recover from childbirth.
Defense attorney Renee Hessling is representing one of five defendants in a double homicide case. She’s due for a cesarean section in December to give birth to twins, and has been planning to take time off following the procedure.
So she was shocked when Deputy District Attorney Leigh Frazier filed a motion in Superior Court to get Hessling removed from the case. The court document argues that Hessling's maternity leave was not unexpected, and so doesn't amount to "good cause to continue the case under the law."
In other words, it's not a good enough reason to delay the trial.
"My response actually was just this visceral, 'Are you kidding me?' " says Hessling. In her view, the DA is holding her request for a medical leave to a different standard because she's a woman.