The outrage continues over the Seminole County judge who sentenced a traumatized domestic violence victim to three days in jail back in October 2015 when she didn’t show up in court to testify against her abuser.
The victim explained to Judge Jerri Collins in a contempt hearing that she was going through a rough time and suffering from severe anxiety. Judge Collins replied with, “You think you’re going to have anxiety now? You haven’t even seen anxiety.”
The woman begged the judge for mercy and tried to explain to the judge that she was alone and had a two year old to care for but Collins would not listen.
Today, the Florida Supreme Court issued a brief recommending that Collins should be required to complete an anger-management course, along with facing a public reprimand.
Judge Jerri Collins had reached an Agreement with an investigative panel of the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission, but justices, in a brief order Monday, went beyond the terms of the agreement and said Collins should also take an anger-management course and a domestic-violence course offered as part of the Florida Judicial College program.
The investigative panel found that Collins “berated and belittled” a domestic-violence victim who did not show up to testify at a trial.
Collins then found the domestic-violence victim in contempt for failing to respond to a subpoena to testify and sentenced the woman to three days in jail, according to the investigation panel.
The investigative panel findings show that the domestic-violence victim failed to appear at the father of her child’s trial, which led to prosecutors to drop one charge and enter a plea agreement on another reduced charge.
The victim appeared several days later for a hearing on the contempt issue.
“During the contempt proceedings you were discourteous, and impatient towards the crying victim,” the panel said in it’s report, further stating to Collins, “You raised your voice and cut her off mid-sentence, using sarcasm to make your point. Moreover, once you had finished upbraiding the victim, you found her in contempt of court and sentenced her to spend three days in jail.”
The Supreme Court holds the ultimate authority over disciplining judges. If Collins and the Judicial Committee agree, a revised judgment will be submitted to the Supreme Court within 30 days. If not, the Judicial Qualifications Commission will hold a hearing.
This story was originally published in a previous for mat of Hernando Phoenix News. The original version is archived at https://web.archive.org/web/20160501071304/http://www.hernandophoenix.com/florida-supreme-court-wants-seminole-county-judge-anger-management-course/