Judge not allowed back in court after berating ill woman who died: report
WASHINGTON (CIRCA) – A Florida judge has been instructed not to return to court after controversial video emerged of her berating an ill woman, according to CNN.
CNN on Monday reported that Judge Merrilee Ehrlich was witnessed harshly scolding Sandra Faye Twiggs, 59, during an April 15 court appearance.
Twiggs was in a wheelchair during her appearance, which was her first on a domestic violence charge.
“I am not here to talk about your breathing treatments,” Ehrlich says at one point during the footage.
Twiggs’ sister on Monday said her sister suffered from asthma, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Anna Twiggs added she found her sister dead in her bed last week two days after bailing her out of jail.
“I love my sister and I miss my sister,” she said. “The judge was so nasty to my sister. She didn’t allow my sister a breathing treatment when she needed one.”
Sandra Faye Twiggs was in court on a simple battery charge after a dispute over a fan at her home in Lauderhill, Fla.
Chief Judge Jack Tuter released a statement over the weekend criticizing Ehrlich’s treatment of Sandra Faye Twiggs.
“I am saddened and disappointed in the way Judge Ehrlich behaved on the video,” said Tuter, who oversees the 17th Circuit Court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“In light of recent events, we have decided Judge Ehrlich will not return to the courthouse as her retirement is effective June 30,” he continued. “I will be working to find a substitute to cover Judge Ehrlich’s division.”
“All our citizens, no matter what brings them to the courthouse, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”
Tuter added he would reach out to Sandra Faye Twiggs’ family Monday to “extend an apology on behalf of the 17th Circuit for the way their family member was treated by Judge Ehrlich.”
“This is no way a reflection of the many hard working judges in the 17th Circuit,” he said.
“I will be speaking with all our judges this week to reemphasize the public trust invested in the work we do.”