Judge Jerri Collins Is a Traitor to Women and a Blight on Her Profession
I know some really nice, normal people who live in Florida. And then stories like these come out in the news and I lose all hope that Florida is worth saving. It's as though God and/or the Universe took the worst nut jobs and crotchety old people they could find, threw them in a stinky, Corexit-filled oil drum, added oppressive heat and humidity - and a heaping cup full of nightmare bugs and reptiles - zapped it with lightning a few times and then declared: FLORIDA!!
Take, for instance, "Judge" Jerri Collins of Seminole County. She sure is a cutie, right? Enough of a cutie that I'm guessing she spends more time on that hair and those nails than on reviewing actual court cases. And really ... who knows how a cutie like that made it all the way to the bench??
But I digress. Or maybe I don't. Because Jerri's behavior on July 30, 2015, was downright horrific, and the only way I can rectify her being an actual judge with this abusive behavior is that she must not have earned the right to sit in the big chair, but rather, she used her considerable cuteness to ... finagle ... her way there.
Hold on: Maybe she's just tired of the victims. Maybe she is just so danged tired of women being afraid of their abusers. She's tired of the depression. Poor, poor Jerri is so flipping' tired of the PTSD that she just doesn't know what to do with herself, gosh darn it!
Female Judge Humiliates Victim of Domestic Violence
I've been in Florida two times, and yes, both times were during Spring Break. But wait: My boyfriend's grandmother lived down there, so we stayed with her and didn't go to even one beach party. This was also back in 1990, before MTV took over financing the epically chaotic parties.
What do I remember most about Florida? The old lady, driving a monster sea boat of a Cadillac, who stopped - literally stopped moving - on the other side of the interstate, then just started over the grassy median so she could turn around. And because she's somehow old and entitled to drive ... however the hell she wants ... she stopped all the cars on our side of the road as she floated out into the sea of south-bound traffic.
And then, every other crazy thing that happens in Florida, but then there was a "Judge" yelling at a victim of domestic violence? That's a new one, Jerri.
No, no. I understand. You wanted to be a judge not because you wanted to help out your community, but because there were men to humiliate. There were high school classmates to better. There were imaginary contests to win. There were boatloads of money to make. I dunno ... maybe you have some serious Daddy Issues.
Did you think, Jerri - after this woman dared bruise your considerable ego - that maybe she really was just tired of dealing with it all. Did you think, Jerri, that maybe having an infant on top of all this nonsense would be ... I dunno ... kind of stressful? Did you think that maybe, just maybe, that her loser ex being in jail (and therefore unable to pay child support) would be a valid reason for her to be afraid of sending him to jail?
But there's no fear in Jerriland. Victims of domestic violence don't have to be afraid of enraging their abusers, because the courts will protect them for at least a few short days, right?
Ok, Jerri. You put him in jail, and then what? He'll just suddenly, magically, turn "normal," right? Because jail and prison are notorious for making people normal!
What I do know is that the way you treated that woman in your courtroom was abusive and it was wrong and the only reason you should ever wear a robe is for a Halloween party.
See, I'm the victim of domestic violence. You wouldn't think so, right? Someone as outspoken as myself would never fall victim to a loser abuser, right? But I was. Twice.
Let's not go into the first one, Jerri, because you'll have to read my book. And no free rides; you'll have to pay for the privilege of reading that. So let's discuss the last one; the one that just ended last May.
How about if you'd known that person for eleven years before you married them? How about if they never gave any hint whatsoever that they could utterly turn on you?
But you have all the answers, don't ya Jerri.
My now ex husband had a drug-fueled mental breakdown last year. After two months of pretending to go to work, I finally got him to admit that no, he wasn't really about to be deployed to Africa to help 10th CSH build ebola clinics. So I kicked him out, and then the fun really started.
He didn't quite understand why I made him leave. He was sure it wasn't really because of his atrocious behavior or drug addiction. There had to be more, and I was a bitch for doing it. When I spoke to him on the phone, he was delusional. He scared me. This wasn't the person I thought I knew for the last 22 years.
Yeah, 22 years, and still, no one would listen to me.
So I tried to get a permanent protective order, based on his drug addiction and dangerous mental illness. That was super, extra fun; the kind of fun that people just shouldn't be allowed to have. It took three tries, even though I had written evidence that he had:
- Lied to us for almost a year that he was being recruited to work for the FBI (he even pulled letterhead off the internet and created letters);
- Lied about being recruited by the FBI to work at the International Space Station in Belgium;
- Lied about being deployed to the border of Texas/Mexico before 9/11 to fight the threat of ISIL using chemical/biological weapons against the US; and his piece de resistance
- Lied about being deployed to Africa to build ebola clinics.
I first tried to get a Temporary Protective Order two days after I kicked him out. But I didn't get the first one. Every time, I stood before the same judge, and every time, he gave me advice. That first time, he told me to file for divorce.
So I did. It offered exactly ZERO PROTECTION. I was terrified of what he could do after the Sheriff served him with the divorce papers. There was a small mix-up before they served him, so they called me, and I was able to warn them that he was going to be upset. They said if he tried anything, he would go to jail. But he didn't do anything.
A couple of weeks later, we had our initial conference for the divorce; it takes place in a big room, full of people. At that first conference, standing next to him at the bench, I could tell he was seriously mentally ill. And really angry. And yes, I had to stand right next to him at the bench, with some idiot clerk not giving me any information or help, because by law, they are not allowed to give you any information or help.
Did I mention that we were flat broke? Yeah, no lawyers here.
A week after that, I got the bizarre e-mail message that he didn't mean to send me.
He replied to an e-mail our son's orchestra teacher sent both of us regarding the winter concert: He said he was married to a German woman who was pregnant with twins and didn't speak any English, so he was afraid that I would cause a scene at the concert. He sent this one week - one whole, long, week - after our initial divorce conference.
Does it sound crazy to you? Because it sure sounded insane to me.
I forwarded the message to his friend and begged him to ask my husband to get help. That only enraged my ex, so he sent me numerous texts, called me awful names, and hinted that he was planning to take our son out of the country.
I went in front of the judge again.
Still, the judge could not grant the protective order.
Nancy Grace Got It Right, Jerri
Their Hands are Tied
He couldn't grant it. Under the law, he couldn't do anything for me. He did, however, tell me to take the texts to the police. So I took them to the police department.
They made a note of it (but not a report), called him, and told him to cut it out.
He stopped for about 4 days, then started in again. He relentlessly harassed us - me and my two girls - for a week. He remotely accessed our electronics. He turned off our phones, then turned them on again. Then off again. He hacked my computer.
He even started harassing my friend, to the point where she also had to file a police report against him.
He was arrested on December 2, 2014. The morning that he turned himself in, he left a toy on the hood of our car, as a warning.
He never bonded out, so every time he appeared in court, he was dressed in an orange jumpsuit. I hated him. I hated looking at him. He would whisper back and forth with his scary looking neighbor in the jury box.
It took him five months to simply take the deal on the DV charges; it would have been much longer if he had gone to trial, which would have been stupid on his part. That's what people do not get: Unless you immediately take a plea, court dates and trial dates and motions hearings and all that go on forever. I was lucky; he was still in custody, so I knew for certain that he wouldn't be waiting for me in the parking lot. I knew he couldn't be waiting for me in front of the courthouse, waiting to pounce.
Every day after that first weekend of his arrest, I was terrified of him bonding out. It wasn't like he didn't know where we lived. Before he started harassing us, I tried to contact the VA about his mental illness and drug addiction; I tried to get help from our family doctor. But privacy concerns shut those avenues down quickly. The most I could request was a pill count from our doctor. The VA refused to help at all.
And right before he went to jail? He orchestrated our eviction. He took money out of our bank account in the amount of our rent, but didn't pay it. He told the landlord I was just lazy. He shut down all the joint e-mail accounts, and my Flickr account. And there was nothing I could do to stop him.
The eviction was especially fun. Know what the landlord's attorney said in court, after I showed proof that my ex cheated us all? "Well, you married him!"
I Want to See You Handle It
I know what you're thinking.
You're thinking, But you managed to go to all your court dates. You managed to keep up with the divorce and file for public assistance and move - two times! - all while maintaining your regular schedule.
What. Total. Baloney. Ya know what? If she was too stressed out to see this guy in court, if she was too wracked with anxiety at the idea of having to be completely broke, if she just couldn't handle it?
Guess what? THAT IS OKAY. And the judge turned her - HER! - back on a sister and basically told her that she is weak and stupid and how dare she waste the Almighty Judge's time. Time, by the way, she would be at the courthouse anyway. Time all those people would still be at the courthouse. Still making money. Still doin' that courthouse jive.
No Mercy, Right?
When I watched that video, Jerri, I felt ashamed. The look on your face ... the indifference to her plight, and that she dared defy an order given by Your Holiness ... I was ashamed that women who hold positions of power often turn their backs on their sisters. That's what you did on July 30, 2015. I am ashamed that women in power do not fight for the rights of the meek and downtrodden; but God knows, ya don't want any of your male colleagues thinking that you're weak, now would we?
I mean, you're probably right, though. Why would a woman with a small infant want to avoid having to see her abuser in court? Why would she - after four months - just want to forget about everything and move on? You were absolutely right, Jerri, to put your pride and need for control over ... any considerations whatsoever for the well-being of this woman.
My wish is that you will suffer as you made this woman suffer. My wish is that you will discover humility as only the Universe is truly able to visit upon you. And when the sweet sting of karma overwhelms you, you will remember these words, and that you earned every bit of it. Certainly more than you earned that seat on the bench.