Judge Who Jailed Abuse Victim to Be Punished

Jerri Collins agrees to public reprimand
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 31, 2016 2:58 PM CDT
Judge Who Jailed Abuse Victim to Be Punished
Judge Jerri Collins   (WFTV screenshot)

A central Florida judge who jailed a domestic violence victim for not showing up to testify against her alleged abuser last summer has agreed she acted in poor judgment and will accept punishment. Seminole County Judge Jerri Collins and the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission reached a plea agreement of a public reprimand for her actions after charges were formally made Wednesday with the Florida Supreme Court. During a July 30 hearing, Collins sentenced the crying Lake Mary woman to three days in jail for contempt.

In its decision to recommend a public reprimand, the commission said Collins "admits that her discourteous conduct was inappropriate and should not have occurred," per WFTV. The commission also noted that the court system failed the abuse victim, who did not have a lawyer during her contempt hearing, by not informing her she had a right to present evidence or testify on her own behalf, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Alex Williams, the commission's assistant general counsel, says the Supreme Court will now decide whether it will accept or reject the agreement. If the Supreme Court accepts the recommendation, Collins will have to appear before the state's top court in Tallahassee to be formally reprimanded. (See the wrenching video of Collins ordering the woman to jail.)

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