He made me do it: Driving breast-feeder sentenced

This is the latest in a continuing saga of the wife of the former Charlottesvillian who just said no to government rules. While he was here, Brad Barnhill refused to sign a soccer coaching form that asked for prior arrest records– although he told journalists that his refusal was part of his libertarian philosophy and that he had not, in fact, ever been arrested for pedophilia or any other crime. In 1997, he made a bid for a seat on the Charlottesville Planning Commission but was passed over by City Council. In recent years, his libertarian philosophy and out-of-the-mainstream religious beliefs seem to have taken a new turn: freedom to direct his wife's every action.–editor

A woman convicted of violating child-restraint laws for breast-feeding her baby while driving was sentenced Thursday, December 5, to three months of house arrest.

Portage County, Ohio, Municipal Court Judge Donald Martell also ordered Catherine Nicole Donkers, 29, to pay $300 in fines. He stayed the sentence for one month so she can pursue her appeal.

Donkers was found guilty in August of violating child-restraint laws, driving without a valid driver's license, and fleeing police. She was found innocent of child endangering.

Donkers said her husband, former Charlottesville resident Brad Lee Barnhill, ordered her by cell phone to breast-feed their seven-month-old daughter to save time while she drove on the Ohio Turnpike from Pennsylvania to Michigan on May 8.

Police stopped Donkers after a trucker called 911 to report he had seen a woman driver holding a baby on her lap. Donkers refused to pull over for three miles as a state trooper pursued her.

Donkers argued during trial that as a Michigan resident, she was entitled under that state's child restraint law to breast-feed while driving, even though she was driving in Ohio. Child restraint laws in Michigan exempt nursing babies.

She also said in court that she did nothing wrong because the couple's religious beliefs require Barnhill to be responsible for directing her decisions and whether she should be punished.

They belong to the First Christian Fellowship for Eternal Sovereignty, which has a history of challenging the government.