Saturday, October 10, 2015

FL Judge Berates and then JAILS Sobbing Domestic Violence Victim for Failing to Appear in Court at her Attacker's Trial ~ Call Michael A. Haber, Esq. @ 1-888-SHARK-8-1

Government - prosecutors and Judges alike - are sometimes too invested in the folks' personal lives.  I know that domestic violence is a serious problem and I neither condone it nor do I think that it should be taken lightly, but I also think - scratch that - I know - that sometimes people who are intimately involved do things to one another that they later regret , yet they are perfectly capable of living through and getting over the same without the "help" of the criminal justice system.  Enter Seminole County, Florida Judge Jerri Collins... that's her below...

I am awarding Judge Collins the prestigious Ultimate Douche Bag Award for berating and then incarcerating a sobbing domestic violence victim for failing to appear in her courtroom to testify against her wishes during her attacker's trial.  

The victim, a Sanford, Florida woman, was allegedly attacked by her baby dadda who was charged with domestic violence by strangulation for choking her in front of their one (1) year old baby and at some point grabbing a kitchen knife.  It is alleged that he (the attacker) has a history of domestic violence (although it is unclear whether that is with the same victim) and that she (the victim) refused to cooperate with the State in it's prosecution.

The day of trial came, the jury was there but the victim was not (choosing instead to ignore her subpoena to appear for trial) and that forced the case to close in a manner which was unfavorable to both the State and, apparently, to the Judge as well (the Defendant received a reduced sentence of sixteen (16) days in jail).   In response to this the State (which presumably seeks to support it's victim) filed a Motion seeking to have it's victim held in contempt, in fact had her hauled in front of the Judge and she was then found to have been in contempt for her willful failure to honor a court order (the trial subpoena)...

The exchange reportedly went like this:  The victim told the Judge that she did not wish to be a witness in the case.  She said that she was under stress, suffering from anxiety and that she had tried to drop the charges in an effort to move on with her life.  She indicated that she had been attending a therapy group that supported her decision but that her request of the State Attorney was denied.  Said Judge Collins: "You think you're going to have anxiety now?  You haven't even seen anxiety.  We had a jury - six people there - ready to try [the accused], who has a prior criminal history of domestic violence."  Said the victim:  "I'm just not in a good place right now".   Responded the Judge:  "And violating your court order did not do anything for you.  I find you in contempt of court. I hereby sentence you to three days in the county jail."  At which point the victim screams and cries:  "Please! I'll do anything!". Judicial silence.....

Judge Collins has stood by her decision and refused to comment to the media but her ruling has been supported by some who opine that court orders cannot be ignored without consequence.  Others, including some advocacy groups, have slammed the ruling, insisting it will severely impact the way this woman and other abuse victims interact with law enforcement.  Personally, I am just disgusted with the system.

Yes, some domestic violence victims are so traumatized that they cannot think with reasonable regard for their own interests, but this is not true of not all, and in my experience, not even "most".   Most folks want to get on with their lives regardless of an isolated and forgivable interpersonal incident.  ** NOTE that I am not, and I do not, condone domestic violence.  Rather I completely agree with Captain Picard when he says that:

But I also believe that the government - specifically the State Attorney's Office - routinely oversteps and fails to consider the wishes, needs or desires of those whom it purports to represent and serve. 

No doubt there are instances where folks should be compelled to testify whether they wish to or not, but those times should be carefully considered and balanced. Perhaps this was one such case, I do not know and am only operating on the handful of news articles that I read; but what I do know is that I believe that incarcerating a sobbing victim of domestic violence who made it clear that she did not wish to testify and was dealing with her issues in a responsible and healthy fashion is completely and utterly douche baggerous.  Memo to Judge Jerri Collins:  To me you are no better than a f'ing flag burner.  Just because you have the right to do something (in this case to hold someone in contempt and incarcerate them) does not mean that you should do so.  I hope that the good citizens of Seminole County have enough sense to elect a fire hydrant over you in the next election cycle.

Memo to the Folks:  In Florida victims of crimes have rights, both constitutional (s. 16, Art. I of the Florida's State Constitution) and by statute (see: Chapter 960 Florida Statutes).  Still, in Florida, the State Attorney is empowered to bring criminal charges to bear on behalf of all of the people of the State, the victim being only one of those millions of people (albeit usually an important one to the success of their case).  If you want to increase your odds at having the State pursue your interests then you can hire your own criminal defense lawyer to serve as your Victim's Right's Advocate. Again, no one can control what the State does on behalf of the people, but you will increase your odds at achieving a favorable outcome if you have an effective victim's rights advocate pursuing your agenda.   Many criminal defense lawyers serve as effective victim's rights advocates.  Click on the YouTube link below to watch Michael A. Haber, P.A.'s Webisode on Crime Victim's Rights in Florida.  

When it comes to the subject of "Cops, Courts and Constitutions" you should always have a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney who is focused on serving your interests.  While we can't stop the cops from arresting you, as your legal counsel Michael A. Haber, PA will ensure that your rights are respected from the moment that representation begins and that any abuses which may have occurred beforehand are remedied.

At Michael A. Haber, P.A. "Its all about reasonable doubt"!

Michael A. Haber, Esq. is prepared to speak with you about your case!

Cell: 305-798-2220; Office: 305-381-8686; Toll Free: 1-888-SHARK-8-1


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