SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Channel 9’s Karla Ray has been trying to question a Seminole County judge for three days about a ruling that sent a domestic violence victim to jail, instead of ordering community service or a fine for skipping out on a subpoena.
Ray went to the judge’s office to try and get her side.
Judge Jerri Collins said she won’t talk about the matter in case her decision is called for an appeal. The victim has the option to appeal but since she’s already served her sentence for contempt of court, it won’t change what she’s gone through.
The victim was sobbing in the courtroom and tried to plead with the judge when she returned to court.
“I asked them to drop everything. I’m trying to move on with my life,” she said. “I have a 1-year-old son. I’m trying to take care of him myself. I’m begging you please, please don’t. I’ve already issued my order.”
Collins has never had a complaint filed against her with the State Judicial Qualifications Commission.
WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer said even if one is filed in this case, Collins will never be reprimanded for making that call because she was within the law.
Even though judges are public employees, and their offices are inside a public building, the doors are locked. There’s key card access, but Ray wasn’t allowed in to ask questions.
In an email, the judge wouldn’t comment on a case that could be subject to an appeal.
“It won’t do any good for this young lady to file an appeal. She’s already served her sentence,” said Sheaffer.
Collings was re-elected last August, keeping her in her seat until at least January of 2021.
Sheaffer said if Collins is ever disciplined or talked to by her chief judge, it will be done in confidence.