Judges exercise a lot of power. Especially in their courtrooms, where they are the ultimate authority and their attitude can set the tone for the whole process. In general, judges are able to reconcile their power with the pursuit of justice. But in those cases where the scale is over-weighted on the side of power, the results are just terrible.
Let's take the latest example from Sandra Faye Twiggs, 59, who appeared before Judge Merrilee Ehrlich, a county of Broward County, Florida, on April 1
In a video of the interaction between Ehrlich and Twiggs, fully embedded below, one sees the judge cursing the wheelchair bound defendant. Twiggs & # 39; s family has been reported to suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and required respiratory care.
Compassion was obviously too much for Judge Ehrlich, and she scolded Twiggs and shouted, "Ma'am, I'm not here to talk to you about your breathing treatment!"
The abuse goes further than Twiggs tries to give the judge detailed, pertinent information, but the judge did not want to listen.
Honestly, Ehrlich counts on Twiggs & # 39; s lawyer to teach her better manners in the courtroom. "Do you want to say something in the microphone so that she can hear you and you can give her instructions about decorum in court?" Says the judge. "I will not spend the whole day with her to interrupt me," says Ehrlich.
"You've already said too much!" The judge yells later as Twiggs tries to answer another question.
Twiggs was released without a loan – although Judge Ehrlich initially wanted to send one out, although such a recommendation was not pronounced by either a prosecutor or a lower court and all parties agreed Miss Twiggs has no criminal record
Twiggs was found dead in her bed the next day by her sister. Twiggs & # 39; s family and friends are desperate about how she was treated before her death:
Carolyn Porter, a family friend of Twiggs, said, "She came home so desperate that she could not catch her breath."
Porter told Miami Announce that Twiggs, after being released from jail and brought home, was starving, dizzy, and breathless at the border. She had difficulty getting her medication in prison, Porter said.
The local security advocate's office has also commented on the incident:
Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein called it "aggressive and tyrannical behavior and revealed her lack of emotion. You also noticed that very little would have been required." to treat Twiggs with basic human dignity:
"It's not appropriate for anyone to endure this kind of treatment," said Finkelstein chief assistant, Gordon Weekes. "All that was needed was a bit of patience and a little respect, to allow this lady to speak, gather and breathe. "
Instead, Twiggs died," and never had the opportunity to restore her dignity. "As Weekes said.
As reported by CBS News, Judge becomes Honestly after the incident, Broward did not return to her courtroom, she was due to retire this summer, and Tuter was annoyed with Ehrl Me's Behavior:
Tuter said he will contact Twiggs' family to apologize.
"I am saddened and disappointed with the way Judge Ehrlich behaved on the video, her behavior can not be tolerated," he said.
It is too late for Twiggs, but perhaps this will serve as an example to all lawyers why compassion is an essential skill.
Kathryn Rubino is an editor at Above the Law. AtL Tippers are the best, so please contact them. Feel free to e send her some tips, questions or comments and follow her on Twitter ( @ Kathryn1 ).