Florida Judge jails domestic abuse victim for refusing to testify

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When the court tells you to do something, it’s not a suggestion. Refusing to testify means someone gets far less jail time than they should. It’s not just a reaction to “wasted court resources,” it’s also a reaction to the impediment of justice.

This person has not been “re-victimized,” she is only being treated fairly within the systems of the law.

The court is trying to protect her from the abuser. What she did doesn’t make sense.


When you know or strongly suspect that doing something could cause you to be murdered, can a judge force you to do that? Would it be considered suicide by the victim, or premeditated murder by the judge?

edited to add:

The court isn’t trying to protect her. When the guy gets out, he’s going to find her and he’s going to be even more abusive. What’s a “more severe term” than 16 days…maybe a whole month stewing in jail before he get out and exact his revenge?

As for the notion that mental illness and PTSD aren’t legitimate factors in ability to comply to an order requiring getting back into the line of fire – figuratively speaking – well, I’ll let someone else go down that road.


And how many more domestic abuse victims will be murdered because now they’re even more afraid to go to the police?


Happens in the movies all the time.

Gotta love internalized misogyny. /s


I get what you are saying, but why jail time for the defendant? It sounds very much like, “if all you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail”.

Counseling, personal protection, a doctor, or literally anything else could be appropriate. But jail?


The entire point here seems to be that while this was within the law, the degree of punishment given is extremely unusual and reflects an angry, slighted authority rather than the judicious application of the law.


Strictly speaking “re-victimized” may not be the appropriate term. It would be more appropriate to say she has been a victim of domestic abuse and now she’s also a victim of a judge’s abuse of power.


This discusts me.

I don’t know how Judge positions work in Florida - in Minnesota this judgeship would be an elected position. If this is an elected position in Florida then it seems like a good opportunity to replace this judge for failing to properly execute the responsibilities of her job.

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Gimme a break. This isn’t normal or reasonable behavior for a judge in a domestic violence case. You can mouth all the platitudes about the legal system that you want, but there’s a reason an actual, honest to god prosecutor spoke out against this.


As the woman mentions in the video, she is almost homeless and trying to obtain child support from the father, which she says the state took over a year to process, and which he was unable to pay when he was in jail. A little bit after hearing that the judge decides to throw her in jail.

It doesn’t seem obvious to me that anybody is being “protected” by the state here, or that “justice” is being served.

It seems like there’s an unhealthy fixation on guilt and punishment in the US.


Chirst! What an Asshole. That judge is a piece of filth that lubes the perpetuating gears of dehumanizing practices in not only our court system, but our society at large.
It is not the courts role to punish. It is the courts role to obtain justice. This narcissistic fool has apparently forgotten that.


I thought that one spouse could not be compelled to testify against the other?

Also, as a victim of domestic abuse (long ago), I find your comment completely tone-deaf.


Were they married? Anyway I thought it only covered communications between spouses, not things like “did he strangle you?”.

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When I lived in Santa Ana, I saw a domestic dispute play out in the apartment across from me. Cops arrived and charges were filed against the gentleman based upon what I witnessed (the man did have some scratches). The D.A.'s office sent me a subpoena (via U.S. mail, so it wasn’t valid), but I had non-refundable plane tickets to Europe, so I called and asked them if they could postpone. They said they couldn’t (speedy trial, etc.) and that they would just drop the charges since the woman refused to testify. I felt bad, but we weren’t about to eat $1500 worth of tickets for the people. That’s what most jurisdictions do–they drop the charges.

I understand the judge’s frustration, but it doesn’t serve any legitimate purpose to toss a victim into lockup.

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My Law & Order: SVU teachings are rusty, but I thought spousal privilege had to do with communications not actions.

Anyone a lawyer?

Edit: Oops. Just saw @darkmobius comment.

I may well get shouted down for this.

There are many reasons that women stay with their abusers or choose not to press charges.

The problem is, the surest second surest way to die via domestic violence is to do nothing about the abuser. Like not pressing charges or staying with him/her. It’s almost never fatal the first time. The killers do milder stuff first, and get away with it, and move on to more power, abuse, pain, torture, etc…

I can easily see the judge wanting to break that cycle. If the abused woman doesn’t have the fortitude to escape the situation or press charges (or fucking testify!) right now, maybe she will after a three day timeout.

And maybe it’s too late this time, but what if she’s in another abusive relationship? Will she think twice before letting the guy slide? I really hope.

Let’s not forget that her abuser will almost certainly find someone else to abuse if she leaves. The justice system has an important role in this situation, and she retarded the system’s ability to manage this particular threat to society. And herself!

EDIT: I was wrong about the risk, and I’ve corrected it above. A woman who leaves is temporarily at much higher risk of a lethal outcome. But if he’s abusive and possibly homicidal anyway, there is very little logical drawback to leaving a bad situation. Signs an abuser may become lethal. Remember that not all give signs first.

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No, the most dangerous time for a domestic abuse partner – the time s/he is most likely to be killed – is while attempting to leave.