Broward County Circuit Judge Merrilee Ehrlich is facing a torrent of criticism over her berating a defendant who is obviously experiencing serious physical discomfort in the courtroom. Defendant Sandra Faye Twiggs, 59, complained about her trouble breathing but Ehrlich abused her and her counsel in a tirade on April 15th that has resulted in Judge Ehrlich being relieved of her duties. It will not be of much relief to Twiggs, who died three days later. Update: Ehrlich will now be forced into retirement.
Twiggs was only facing a misdemeanor charge related to a family dispute but that did not deter Ehrlich. During the video below the judge shouts down Twiggs and says “I’m not here to talk about your breathing treatments.”
Her family said that she returned upset from court and said that she was prevented from talking.
It is a deeply disturbing video to watch, but it reflects how judges and lawyers can sometimes become desensitized to the human beings around them in the criminal justice system. The total lack of empathy by the court shows more than a lack of patience. It is an utter lack of compassion and humanity.