Las Vegas, NV — A Las Vegas judge has changed his mind and given a breastfeeding mom house arrest instead of jail time.
Kristen Fleming started an online campaign that caught on and created a lot of controversy.
A judge reversed his decision on Monday. He initially sentenced Fleming, mother to twin 6-month-olds, to jail time. Some have applauded the judge’s change of heart while others call it a double standard.
“My biggest concern is the stress they’ve would’ve gone through because they don’t use bottles,” Fleming said.
In January 2015, Fleming got into a fight with her husband. Police arrested the 33-year-old.
“I admitted to the cop. He asked what was going on and I admitted shoving him. They immediately put me under arrest for domestic violence,” she said.
Fleming was charged with a misdemeanor despite the fact that her husband requested charges be dropped. She spent six days in jail and discovered she was pregnant two weeks later.
“You’re talking about someone who never had a traffic ticket, never been in trouble. I just figured I’d plead my case to the judge,” Fleming said.
Fleming said she was ordered to take anger management classes within a year of her arrest but between her pregnancy and her new life as a mom, she couldn’t attend them. In February, she went to a judge to ask for more time.
“I got before the judge. He just told me I had a whole year,” she said. “He almost took me to jail right there and there. I told him I’m breastfeeding my babies, and he said, ‘Fine, I’m giving you a week to pump.'”
At first, Fleming said, Judge Martin Hastings was not interested in her concerns about breastfeeding.
When Hastings said Fleming would have to spend 14 days in jail, she launched a Change.org petition.
“I was really surprised at the success,” she said. “I had people commenting from New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, Canada. It was worldwide.”
Fleming said her story has created backlash and that’s she’s receiving hateful messages.
“For people to tell me, ‘You’re just making excuses,’ I would love for them to take bottles. I would actually get an eight-hour night sleep,” she said.
Fleming said her attorneys asked Hastings to drop her charges, but that request was denied. Fleming has until August to complete house arrest.