Among the many issues arising for women in the law, pregnancy is the major bugbear forstalling careers and leaving women stranded from making partner, the boardroom or lofty heights. And so when a New York lawyer requested that an upcoming trial be postponed because of her pregnancy, it lead to a major row.
Deborah N Misir in six months into a high-risk pregnancy and told to avoid “stress pressure and upsetting confrontations” which could threaten her child’s life.
A former Justice Department lawyer and an ethics lawyer in the White House she says she has “never been treated so disrespectfully, brutally, and with lack of basic civility by opposing counsel, as has occurred in this court.
The NY Times reports that thus far, Ms. Misir’s request has gone nowhere: The United States attorney’s office has fought the proposed delay, and the judge, citing her health, even asked about a trip to Washington that she said she was planning.
“I am puzzled by the U.S. attorney’s office’s objection to any adjournment due to my pregnancy,” Ms. Misir said. “Pregnancy — much less high-risk pregnancy — has long been recognized in this country as a legal disability requiring accommodation.”
Ms. Misir’s client is Vincent Tabone, the former vice chairman of the Queens Republican Party, who faces a retrial in White Plains on Jan. 5 in a corruption case.
Mr. Tabone is being tried with Malcolm A. Smith, a Democratic state senator. Both men have pleaded not guilty to bribery conspiracy and other charges.
Their trial ended in June after the judge, Kenneth M. Karas of Federal District Court, declared a mistrial because prosecutors had failed to turn over promptly to the defense hours of wiretapped conversations, many of which were in Yiddish. The trial of a third defendant, a former Republican councilman, Daniel J. Halloran III, continued and he was convicted in July.
Ms. Misir said in a phone interview on Friday that she and her husband were elated to be expecting their first child. But she said, “As any doctor or woman will tell you, it’s very difficult to have a successful pregnancy at my age, and I have faced many medical issues in the past.”