Florida County Judge Jerri Collins found herself in front of the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday, being publicly reprimanded on live TV as a penalty for her repugnant treatment of a domestic abuse victim who failed to show up to her abuser’s trial.
According to several news reports, on April 2015 the victim called for help stating that the father of her child choked her and threatened her with a knife. After he was arrested, the woman began having serious anxiety about the incident.
Many domestic violence victims are often afraid and anxious about attending the trial of their abusers. The victim in this case said it was anxiety that caused her not to show up.
In a recently uncovered video evidence obtained by WFTV, “she told the state’s victim’s advocate that she wanted to drop the charges and move on with her life rather than testify, but she was still called into court.”
In response, Judge Jerri Collins told the victim:
“You think you’re going to have anxiety now? You haven’t even seen anxiety,”
Victim: “I’m just not in a good place right now. I’m homeless now. I’m living at my parents’ house,” the woman said as she sobbed. “Everything has been shut off. I just sold everything I own.”
Judge Collins: “And violating your court order did not do anything for you. I find you in contempt of court. I hereby sentence you to three days in the county jail,” said the judge.
While being taken into custody the victim cried out: “Judge, I’ll do anything. Please, please!” the woman begged. “I have a 1-year-old son and I’m trying to take care of him by myself. I’m begging you, please, please!”
Collins was unmoved. The victim was sentenced to three days in jail. Her abuser got 16 days.
After the story went public, a plea deal was reached earlier this year with a state agency that “polices” judges and Collins agreed to a public reprimand. However, last month, the state Supreme Court issued an order stating a public reprimand was not a sufficient punishment. Collins was told her behavior was “intolerable” and was ordered Collins to complete a course in anger management and a course in domestic violence.
The presiding judge told Collins:
“You found the victim in contempt of court and send her to spend three days in jail even though the victim pleaded with you that she needed to take care of a one-year-old child. The victim apologized for failing to appear, citing anxiety, depression and a desire to move on from contact with her abuser as reasons why she did not appear for trial, Meanwhile, Judge Collins, you raised your voice, used sarcasm, spoke harshly and interrupted the victim.”
He added: “Judge Collins, this is indeed a sad day for you, a sad day for the people of Florida and a sad day for the judiciary upon which our people depend for justice. I cannot emphasize enough how intolerable your behavior was in this case.”
Below is the video of Judge Jerri Collins being publicly reprimanded for berating a domestic violence victim.