Florida Judge Jails Domestic Violence Victim For Failing To Testify
A Florida judge is under fire from domestic violence advocates after a video shows her berating a victim and sentencing her to three days in jail for failing to testify against her attacker.
Video released Tuesday to WFTV shows Seminole County Judge Jerri Collins holding the victim in contempt of court for failing to appear at her case on July 22. The Huffington Post is withholding the woman’s name because we do not identify victims of domestic violence.
Court documents allege that the victim ignored a subpoena to testify against the father of her child, who allegedly choked her and threatened her with a knife. A day before the assault trial, the victim told a court advocate, “I am not going in tomorrow, I don’t care if I get arrested!”
Video shows the distraught, tearful victim at her contempt hearing on July 30, telling Collins that she was riddled with anxiety after her attack, and was living with her parents and her 1-year-old child. Collins told her that’s no excuse for failing to show up to court, which could blow the case for the prosecution. (It didn’t — State Attorney Phil Archer said in a press release that the abuser was sentenced to 16 days in jail “despite the victim’s lack of cooperation.”)
Collins, on the video, appears to become agitated as the victim pleads for her freedom.
“You think you’re going to have anxiety now? You haven’t even seen anxiety,” Collins says before sentencing the sobbing victim to jail.
The victim cries harder and pleads for another chance, but Collins says her fate is sealed.
Advocates said the judge’s decision sends a message that victims of domestic violence have no legal recourse.