The Florida Judge Who Jailed A Domestic Abuse Victim Got A Slight Punishment
No one is above the law it seems, not even a domestic abuse victim. A Florida judge who jailed a domestic abuse victim for missing her trial date and berated her in court (making her the worst judge ever in my book), is luckily being reprimanded. Seminole County Judge Jeri Collins took the victim to task for missing the trial of a partner who “choked her, came at her with a knife and pressed his thumbs against her eyes,” according to The Orlando Sentinel. The trial was ready to move forward, but the woman ignored her subpoena to be a witness, and the man’s sentence was reduced to just 16 days for battery.
When Judge Collins ask the woman why she missed her trial, the victim said, “Your Honor, I’m very sorry for not attending. I’ve been dealing with depression and a lot of personal anxiety since this happened.” That’s when Collins reamed her. According to The New York Daily News, the judge said, “You think you’re going to have anxiety now? You haven’t even seen anxiety.” The victim apologized repeatedly, according to a video of the scene that went viral last summer. The victim begged the judge to not jail her. “Judge, I’ll do anything … I have a one-year-old son, and I’m trying to take care of him by myself. I’m begging you, please, please don’t,” she said.
Collins told her to “turn around” because the decision had already been made. The victim was jailed for three days.
Luckily, the video made its rounds since the judge’s actions seemed a little harsh (and crazy), even though she could legally jail the woman for defying a subpoena. But you’d think in a domestic abuse case there could be a little compassion or lenience for victims, since it cannot be easy to testify or face your attacker. The woman claimed that she was trying to move on and was struggling finding a job and a house since the incident, but Collins wasn’t moved.
The Florida Supreme Court reprimanded Collins, forcing her to take anger management classes and attend a domestic violence class. Presumably, that will help her get a little perspective on what women go through. Because it’s not just that the victim “had anxiety,” but she’s also taking care of a kid after being traumatized by a man. Her life was even further fucked up by having to spend three days in the county jail.
Collins maintained that she was in her right to jail the woman, but did admit that she could have been more “patient” and less aggressive with the victim. Because sure, it’s frustrating that she wasted the court’s time and allowed her abuser to get off so easy. In the video, the judge questions the woman’s motives for not testifying, even suggesting that she had lied when she pressed charges. But not testifying isn’t akin to lying — it’s being scared as shit.
A judge should be tough, but not a complete asshole.