The last time you saw it featured so prominently was because of the Trayvoyn Martin trial, (which allowed a homicidal racist to go free to kill again).
Today, on the front page of MSN, I see it once again. This time it is because of one of our judges. Seminole County Judge Jerri Collins "heartlessly" rebuked a domestic violence victim for not being able to appear at her abuser's trial.
Judge Collins threw her in jail.
The woman pleaded several times, explaining her situation. She could not face that man--she was terrified, she is homeless, and this:
"Judge, I'll do anything ... 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," she said.
"Turn around," the judge responds. "You should have showed up. I've already issued my order."
Each desperate plea was met with a harsher rebuke from the judge .
Ironically, her abuser, who violently choked her and held her with a knife, only received a few more days in jail than his terrified victim!
"It was pretty brutal. It got to my heart," Safehouse of Seminole CEO Jeanne Gold told the Daily News. "I thought she will never ever call the police again. She'll never look for help again. It's so sad."
Judge Collins, who earns $138,000 a year as a judge, is a staunch conservative who was rewarded with an appointment by then-Florida Governor Jeb Bush to the Seminole County Court despite her reputation as being quite nasty. Several people who have appeared before have little nice to say about her:
She is the worst judge I have ever appeared in front of. She is completely bias towards the state and does not try to hide it one bit. She is nasty to the attorneys and defendants that appear in front of her and has no business on the bench.”
And this nugget:
My name is Patricia Tommaso, and I am using my husband’s email address. I was in front of Judge Collins this morning. This is a very nasty person; she issued a summary judgement in a pre-trial conference, which my papers said could not happen. My husband tried to talk for me, but she told him to shut up and would have had him removed from the courtroom. My husband is a well-educated individual, and I was crying, and he was just trying to talk for me. She made fun of his medical condition (he is close to being terminal), she found that funny. She is a terrible individual in my opinion, and I will be filing a complaint with the JQC. I am a businessperson (for 30 years) in Central Florida, and I will do everything that I can do at the next election to get her voted out.
This woman who was thrown in jail has an anxiety disorder (which, given her circumstances, one should understand.)
Judge Collins told her "You haven't even seen anxiety!" before putting her in jail.
I had asked my fellow Seminole citizens to vote for Sandra Rivera in the last election instead of this horrible person, but as always, the turnout was very low and the rightwing Jerri Collins won. We are stuck with her until 2021.
I called Judge Collins office (407-665-4982--it goes to voicemail) and respectfully asked that she show some compassion for the victims of violent crime next time. She told the Orlando Sentinel editorial board that she always had a "positive impact" on people who came before her when she was running for office--but I challenge anyone to find the positive impact on that poor woman who is sitting in jail right now without her baby.