Domestic abuse victim won’t testify, so judge jails her

The law is the law, but sometimes the law is lame.

In Seminole County, Fla., a woman who was choked in a domestic abuse case was sent to jail for three days because she refused to testify against her attacker — not uncommon for victims of domestic abuse.

Without the key witness, the attacker, who is the father of the couple’s 1-year-old child, got only 16 days in jail.

“We cannot have people deciding which court orders we will obey or not obey,” county judge Jerri Collins said.

The Orlando Sentinel has video of the hearing at which the judge berated the victim.

“Your Honor, I’m very sorry for not attending …,” said the woman. “I’ve been dealing with depression and a lot of personal anxiety since this happened …”

A video of the proceeding shows Collins, a former prosecutor who took the bench in 2006, retorting: “You think you’re going to have anxiety now? You haven’t even seen anxiety.”

“You disobeyed a court order knowing that this was not going to turn out well for the state,” she said.

As deputies placed the woman in handcuffs, she begged Collins for a different outcome. But the judge closed her binder and told the woman to “turn around.” The Orlando Sentinel is not identifying her because it does not name victims of domestic abuse.

“She’ll never call again,” Jeanne Gold, CEO of SafeHouse, told WTFV. “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.”

The judge refused to comment to reporters.