Courtroom video recently surfaced of a Florida judge scolding and sentencing a domestic abuse victim for her failure to appear and testify at trial against her attacker.
“You need to tell the court why I should not hold you in contempt of court,” Seminole County Judge Jerri Collins said, according to WFTV Channel 9 News. “I can sentence you to jail,” she added.
The visibly rattled and emotional victim explained to the judge that she told the state’s victim advocate in advance of trial she would be unable to testify due to anxiety.
“You think you’re going to have anxiety now?” Collins shot back. “You haven’t even seen anxiety!”
In April, the woman called for help after she said the father of her child choked her and grabbed a kitchen knife.
Channel 9 found that the man has a past domestic violence conviction.
The state was pushing for a conviction.
When the sobbing woman was asked again why she failed to appear at trial, she gave a disjointed explanation about lack of child support and the hardships and complications in her life.
“I’m just not in a good place right now,” she answered.
“And violating your court order did not do anything for you,” the judge snapped back. “I find you in contempt of court. I hereby sentence you to three days in the county jail.”
“Judge, I’ll do anything,” she wailed. “I have a 1-year-old son and I’m trying to take care of him by myself. I’m begging you, please, please don’t.”
The station showed the video of the contempt hearing to Jeanne Gold. Gold is the CEO of SafeHouse, an organization that offers shelter to abuse victims
“That’s just appalling. It’s horrible. Shame on that judge,” Gold told Channel 9, and then explained the consequences of Collins’ behavior.
“She’ll never call again. Look what happened to her. She could be lying, broken in a ditch somewhere, and she would probably not call police because of what happened to her in this place.”
But reaction to the video has been mixed, according to comments made on various publications. Some readers are unsympathetic to the victim and think that the judge did the right thing. The following comments are from Daily Mail readers:
Watch the video and tell us what you think.
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Watch the clip, via WFTV.
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