SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A Florida judge is being criticized for being tough on a domestic abuse victim, sentencing the woman to jail for failing to show up in court to testify against her alleged abuser.
Seminole County Judge Jerri Collins is seen on video from the courtroom sentencing the victim to three days in jail for failing to come to court to testify against the father of her 1-year-old son.
“I have a 1-year-old son and I’m trying to take care of by myself,” the woman tearfully pleaded before the judge. “I’m begging you, please.”
When she refused to testify against him, the court held her in contempt.
“I’ve been dealing with depression and just a lot personally since this happened,” the woman said. “I’m trying to move on with my life. I’m homeless now. I’m living with my parents. I’m just not in a good place right now.”
“Why didn’t you show up to court?” Judge Collins asks.
“I just… my anxiety.. and I’m just,” the woman stumbles.
“You think you’re going to have anxiety now? You haven’t even seen anxiety,” Collins said.
When the woman was sentenced, she broke down in tears.
Now, the video is concerning advocates for domestic violence victims, saying it isn’t helping victims feel comfortable when they ask for help.
However, the state attorney’s office says victims’ testimony is key in these types of cases.
Prosecutors struck a deal with the woman’s husband. He pleaded no contest to simple battery charges and was sentenced to 16 days in jail.