Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Judge Jerri Collins Analysis

I have worked with victims of Domestic Violence for more 3 decades and still feel that I know so little about the dynamics of D/V and how it reveals itself in language.  Today, we are given an example of impact as seen in language and how another person reacted to this perception.

Many cases are derailed because the victim is unwilling or incapable of testifying, or following through with her testimony.  There are many reasons for this; few that I have encountered would I consider negligent and these had to do with finance.  None of which I have encountered, however, would I consider criminal disobedience.

In interviewing both victims and perpetrators, Analytical Interviewing shows deception, veracity, and then shows the element of minimization so much so, that it becomes, the "expected" in analysis.  It is rare to work a case that does not have minimization elements.

I have also found deception in victims' advocates, which do not help the victim.  Far too many advocates write out or dictate the affidavit for the victim, employing Pinocchio thinking he will help the judge make the "right decision."  I have watched women lose their children after letting the perpetrator back into the house (the expected) , forcing the judge, based upon the false affidavit to order the children removed for their own safety.  The truth is always best, and even when it is in predominantly threat stage, judges can discern what serious threat looks like especially when appropriately and truthfully reported.

I also understand:  It is difficult to prosecute without a victim's testimony.  It is frustrating to attempt to save someone who is, statistically, likely to sabotage at least one rescue attempt.  It is expected.

This judge sentenced a woman to 3 days in jail for contempt of court for failing to show up, which de-railing the system, harming the cause of justice. Was this why she gave out the sentence?  Thus our analytical question:

Why did she do it?

Why did she send the victim, a mother of a baby, to three days in jail for disobeying the court order?

Her words reveal her motive.

Our words always reveal us.

The judge was angry that justice was derailed, but was it this anger that caused her to sentence the sobbing mother who's life has been destroyed by violence, to 3 days in jail?

The video is not easy to watch:  video

Listen to her words:

The mother said, ""Your honor, I'm very sorry for not attending the last one," she said through tears. "I've been dealing with depression and just a lot personally since this happened. My anxiety is like, this is everyday for me."

Please note "depression" came first, "a lot personally" is next and "anxiety" is third.  

Yet, please note that pronouns guide us:

1. First, that  "depression" is introduced by itself, and

2.  That " a "lot personally", is nondescript, 

3.  But with "anxiety" the subject uses the possessive pronoun, "my" in it.  

This is to take ownership of anxiety.  This is different than one who is suffering from anxiety, or one who is experiencing anxiety.  This is to bring it to the point of "ownership" via the intuitive pronoun. 
Next note that she uses the word "this is", with "this" being close and "is" be present tense.  She used the word "like" to describe "her" anxiety and the word she chose to describe the anxiety she "owns" is "everyday"; which is to suggest that she experiences depression, likely in 'bouts', and she has some things she is "personally dealing with" but that anxiety is unrelenting.  That is to say, she takes ownership of anxiety, because anxiety has taken ownership of her.  

Her words tell us:  it is acute.  

This, of course, presumes that one is listening to what the subject is saying.  If you listen to the judge's response, in what she says, and in what she does not say, you may conclude that the judge was, in fact, listening.  

Now the judge:  

"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 Mr. Brennan who has a prior criminal history of domestic violence.  You were required to be here by court order  you disobey a court order knowing this was not going to turn out well for the state.. "

This is a question posed without waiting for response.

"You think you're going to have anxiety now?  You haven't even seen anxiety."

This is to taunt the victim by comparing the anxiety of what she has gone through, with what she is about to face.  This is personal language.

Did you note what is missing from the judge's words?  The judge does not mention "depression" in her response.  The judge did not mention "other things you are personally going through" but went right for the most vulnerable, personal point within the victim's own language.  She heard exactly what was most pointed for the victim:  anxiety.  It is the only ailment or issue the judge used to reflect back.

The repetition of court order refers to herself, as judge, and an order she issued.

The results refer to the state and not to making the victim or future victims safe.

The judge did this for personal reasons:  she could not bear being defied.

The judge used the victim's own language to acknowledge that she heard the victim, and now, literally, according to her words, sentenced the victim to suffer more of what she suffers from.  

The victim took actual ownership of anxiety and it is the most acute suffering for her.  Note no mention of physical injury or other trauma:  whatever she has suffered has led to her to state of anxiety so acute that her language shows ownership.  It is in this precise area that the judge targeted her vengeance.

The victim now has a criminal record and if she thought it was difficult to find a job in her situation before this, wait until she tries after.

I have worked with many victims and have persuaded some to testify, while agreeing with some others that it was too dangerous.  Each case is different.

The victim derailed justice, which happens so often, it is "expected." We know this going into a case. We do not punish the victim for being terrified to testify.  I have had some victims who simply could not be in the same room as the perpetrator without needing professional intervention.  The fear and trauma can be that severe.

The victim learned not to cross this judge, and other victims take note as well.

The judge made this about her authority and need to be obeyed and not about justice, nor safety for citizen.

Her words gave her away.

There were times where my frustration was acute, especially when so many hours of work was put into a legal situation, including donation of money, donation of time by attorneys, advocates, professionals, and so on, but we always knew that there would be a chance that not only would the victim bail out, but the victim may even blame us.

This is part of the trauma that one experiences in violence in the home.  It is heightened due to expectation of not only safety in the home, but of trust, rest, ease, comfort, sleep, and so  on.

Interviewing the judge would likely give us the projected reason why she used such venomous language towards the victim.

That many will question her fitness for the bench is not unreasonable.

The judge perceived how severe the victim's anxiety was, by listening to her, and then sentenced her to an increased dosage of the same.

Judges with even  minor experience in D/V cases know that victims do not always show up, testify and follow through.  I have heard judges be firm with  victims but in an encouraging manner, saying, "Make sure you keep your children safe..." and so on, while granting protection orders.


Anonymous said...

That's in Florida IIRC. Mental health isn't their strong suit whereas acting on behalf of the zanny state is.

Her depression may have been paralyzing. Her anxiety may have been over what will happen next when they let him go.

This is a NG type judge.

Trigger said...

This judge makes me sick!
How can a judge do something like this to someone who has suffered so much at the hands of a cruel husband?

The poor woman has already been beaten, battered, and tortured. Her abusive husband has probably threatened to kill her or maim her for life iif she shows up for the trial.

I know many witnesses who are afraid to show up in court for fear of death or being maimed.

I know a woman who did everything to protect herself from an abusive husband. When she called the police (she had a protective order) they wouldn't come to her house because they were afraid of the husband.

If the police are afraid of DV cases, how can a judge expect the victim to have the courage to show up in court?

This woman was suffering from anxiety and depression. She needed comfort, safety, and reassurance, not jail.

What kind a of judge mocks a suffering victim and then sends them to jail? This judge is cruel and heartless. She has no business being on the bench.

ima.grandma said...

Experiencing domestic abuse results in a constant state of anxiety. The anxiety leads to the desire to escape or avoid any experience associated with the abuse.

Whether conscious or unconscious, we don't want to re-experience the intrusive and unwanted thoughts and feelings. I understand what this woman is going through and why. It's tragic the self-centered judge would not empathize and chose to indulge herself. Shame on her.

Anonymous said...

I hope this judge is disbarred. She is obviously being a judge for the authority and power, not to help protect innocent people and serve justice to offenders.

Trigger said...

I was assaulted by a repeat violent offender while I had a protective order in place. It did not stop my attacker. He was jailed for assaulting me but released until the court date. I was told that it was a misdemeanor when he attacked me. I was very afraid of another assault because of his threats.

I hired two off duty police officers to act as bodyguards to protect me during the court proceedings. If my attacker assaulted them it was a felony.

My assailant came to attack me twice again, before the court date, but the bodyguards were there, so he changed his mind. It was the only thing that deterred him.

The DA didn't want to try him in criminal court because he was so good at lying and avoiding justice so I never had my day in court. So goes the way of many court cases.

I was told six months later that he agreed to take medication for his violent outbursts and impulse control issues to avoid prosecution.

He is still a danger to me as far as I'm concerned. I live far, far away from him.

lgjproduct said...

My niece was brought from a women & children's shelter to testify against her husband. She was assured of her safety. In the courtroom, he came across the table to strangle her and was pulled off before he finished the deed. He went straight to jail but that did nothing to ease the anxiety of my niece - she went into hiding the day he got out, several years later. He died the same week he was released from a drug overdose - all of us were relieved.

horse chestnut said...

"I dont have anything to show that Im an ISIS supporter," she says. Right.

elf said...

My friend Monica Webb had a protective order against her estranged husband. In December of 2012 he stalked her down at her new apartment and shot her twice in the face then shot himself. He lived.
The judge should be disbarred. She's a disgrace to the justice system. She blamed the victim.

Shannon In CA said...

Peter, I just heard about this case. Brendan Creato, a 3 year old, was found dead a half mile from his father's house and the autopsy couldn't determine cause of death.

There's only about two lines of the father's 911 call available but I'm convinced the father is lying. Care to analyze?

Gently Speaking said...

Since coddling doesn't seem to work with these DM women- why wouldn't the "tough love" approach work? Peter said it where women of DM won't forget the judges treatment of this woman. DM women don't seem to work with the gentle approach. They don't believe that people mean it when they are soft spoken and gentle. They do however understand firm statements and even threats (either show up to court when you have been summoned or you will go to jail). Every other person who find themselves in the judicial system have to obey the rules or face penalty, why are DM women any different?

So, if the judge is using "language" these women understand, then why is it so inappropriate?

Lemon said...

Gently Speaking (sic) I'm curious, do you work with D/V clients?

Gently Speaking said...

I have, yes. GAL

Sara said...

Gee, I half expected the judge to comment on her victims crying and add "I'll give you something to cry about!"
This judge abused her authority. Sickening.

Katprint said...

This is why many victims of rape, domestic violence, etc. don't file police reports. Not only do they risk likely retaliation by the offender but the court system itself is set up to revictimize them, at a minimum by making them relive the memory of the traumatic event in excrutiating detal and occasionally by treating them as the criminal instead of the victim. The icing on the cake is, there is no huge benefit to balance the huge emotional pain and psychological hardship suffered by the victim. The victim may get the small benefit of some degree of satisfaction if the offender is convicted -- which is by no means a certainty -- at the cost of extensive invasion of their privacy, having all their flaws (drug/alcohol use, financial mismanagement, mental health issues, criminal record, immigration status, sexual history, past relationships, etc.) made not only public but also permanently memorialized into publicly-accessible court records. This is also why people who witness crimes often refuse to come forward.

lynda said...

She is a disgrace and does not belong in a position of power since she uses it to further her own agenda, whatever that may be.