A Florida judge sentenced a traumatized domestic violence victim to jail time for not showing up to testify at her alleged abuser’s trial. The video, which was filmed on July 30, shows Judge Jerri Collins berating the woman who explains she had been suffering from anxiety and depression. Judge Collins shows no compassion for the victim and even says to her, “You think you’re going to have anxiety now? You haven’t even seen anxiety.”
The woman was called to testify against the father of her child, who was charged with domestic battery and aggravated assault, reports AP. Police say the man choked her and threatened her with a kitchen knife. Since the victim didn’t show, she was then ordered to appear in front of Judge Collins and explain her absence.
“Your honor, I’m very sorry for not attending the last one,” the 27-year-old woman said. “I’ve been dealing with depression and just a lot personally since this happened. My anxiety is like, this is everyday for me.” Judge Collins continued to chastise the woman for disobeying the court order. “Is it true what you told the police, is it true? Why wouldn’t you come to testify?” she asked. The victim explained how she had gone to a domestic abuse class and asked for the charges to be dropped. “I’m trying to move on with my life. I’m living at my parents’ house. I had to sell everything I owned. I’m just not in a good place right now,” she said through tears.
The judge found her in contempt of court and sentenced the woman to three days in county jail. The woman can be heard wailing and pleads, “Judge, I’ll do anything. I have a one-year-old son and I’m trying to take care of him myself.” Collins tells her, “You should have showed up.”
The woman, who asked for her identity to be hidden, spoke publicly for the first time since the court hearing. “I knew I did wrong when I missed the trial, but I wasn’t expecting her reaction,” she told NBC News.
What’s even more troubling is how this judge’s decision has made the victim hesitant to speak out if she were in this situation again. “I think after everything that happened, I would most likely not call the police at all,” she said.
Judge Collins, who was appointed to the Seminole County Court by Jeb Bush in 2005, has received negative reactions on The Robing Room, an anonymous review site for judges, from people who appeared before her in the past. More reviews have been published since this video was released.
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Image via Orlando Sentinel.