In the video, the woman pleads with the judge not to send her to jail

By Tara Fowler
Updated October 08, 2015 12:05 PM
Advertisement

ABC Breaking News | Latest News VideosA recently released video shows a Seminole County, Florida, judge sentencing a domestic violence victim to three days in jail for not appearing at her alleged abuser’s trial, despite being subpoenaed to do so.

In the emotional video from a court hearing in July, the unidentified woman pleads with Judge Jerri Collins not to send her to jail, explaining that she had been suffering from anxiety attacks after being viciously attacked by the father of her 1-year-old child, WFTV reports.

“Your honor, I’m very sorry for not attending the last one,” she sobs. “I’ve been dealing with depression and just a lot personally since this happened. My anxiety is like, this is everyday for me.”

To this, Judge Collins replies, “You think you’re going to have anxiety now? You haven’t even seen anxiety.”

According to court documents obtained by ABC News, the woman was allegedly assaulted by her child’s father in April. He was arrested after he allegedly choked her and threatened her with a knife while she was holding their baby. The unidentified man has a prior domestic violence battery conviction, according to the State Attorney’s Office.

But the victim explained to the judge that she wanted the charges against her alleged abuser dropped because the last time he’d been jailed, he’d been unable to pay her child support and she’d ended up homeless. So when she was subpoenaed, she did not show up because she did not want the man to be convicted.

Judge Collins, however, found the woman to be in contempt of court and sentenced her to three days in jail. “You were required to be here by a court order,” Collins says in the video. “You disobeyed a court order, knowing that this was not going to turn out well for the state.”

The woman begs for her to show mercy as she’s handcuffed and taken into custody. “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 says.

But Collins sentenced her to jail anyways.

In a statement to ABC News, the State’s Attorney’s Office defended Collins’ actions. “The case was poised for trial and a jury was sworn. The victim refused to attend court the day of trial, going so far as to tell the State Attorney’s Office that she didn’t care if she was arrested as a result of her not complying with the court’s subpoena.

“The victim’s decision to thwart the court process by refusing to cooperate, despite a properly issued subpoena for her to appear in court, triggered the State to pursue an Order to Show Cause against her, and the Court’s subsequent sentence,” the office said.

The alleged abuser was sentenced to 16 days in jail for simple assault after the victim was a no-show. The woman has since left him and now lives with her parents.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.