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.
42 thoughts on “Florida Judge Removed After Posting Of Video Berating Sick Woman In Wheelchair”
Reblogged this on The Inquiring Mind and commented:
75% of judges and justices should have been impeached with extreme prejudice long ago for egregious and subversive failure to “declare…void…all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution…”
– The entire welfare state is unconstitutional per Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1.
– Affirmative action, quotas, fair housing, non-discrimination, etc. are precluded by private property rights.
Alexander Hamilton –
“[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”
That judge was abusive and treated Ms Twiggs like some animal. She had no priors, and this was just a family dispute.
Do you know why Ms. Twiggs was coughing, putting her head up, and then down, and holding her head? Because COPD means that she has difficulty expelling air, even more than breathing it in. As she breathes out, it is difficult to get the air out. That is the obstructive part of COPD. By the time she finally pushes that breath out, she is desperate to get air in. That easy breathing that many of you experience while reading this blog post is unknown to her. Breathing takes effort. If it takes too much effort, she will become afraid. If she is nervous in court, or if her breathing is making her fearful, then her heart rate will speed up. If her heart rate speeds up, her body will require more oxygen. That will make her feel more breathless than she already does. That will make her have to work harder to breath. She will move her upper body up or down to try to find relief and air. Her hand on her forehead indicates distress and anxiety.
Having an asthma attack or other respiratory distress is like drowning on dry land, in full view of people who cannot help you.
I liken this situation to the judge lecturing a sick woman, who is on her back in the shoreline. Waves come up and over her face over and over again, and she struggles but cannot sit up out of the water. Meanwhile, the judge admonishes her for voicing her distress.
When she said she needed a breathing treatment, the correct response was to take a break. Ask her helper, who may have been a jail employee, to check Ms. Twiggs to see if she needed to take 10 minutes and have a nebulizer breathing treatment.
Her COPD was clearly not controlled. If she was not of means, was she getting proper respiratory care and medication? It is dangerous for people with respiratory ailments like COPD to go to jail or other crowded places, because a mere cold can be deadly. If she died in her sleep, it may have been because people with severe respiratory problems can have their oxygen go down at night when they lie down. If she had any sort of infection, that would have compounded the problem.
I am so sorry for Ms. Twiggs. I thought she was very polite and did her best in the presence of a callous, fretful, and angry judge. It sounded like the boyfriend was a threat to either her daughter or herself. The judge seemed to assume that Ms. Twiggs filed the restraining order on behalf of her daughter, but perhaps she filed it for herself. The judge sure didn’t try to find out. I never heard why Ms. Twiggs was arrested in the first place. It seems unbelievable that she could have done anything other than criticize, because she sure didn’t have the air to yell. Maybe there is more that I’m missing, but why would you even charge a sick woman like that? If you don’t like her company, then walk away.
Thank you for your comment. As someone who watched their mother struggle for years and then pass away from the complications of COPD, I agree with your analysis of the situation 100%. I would be disgusted had this ornery judge spoken to my mother in such a degrading, heartless manner. I hope Ms. Twiggs is resting in peace, with the burdens of life far removed from her shoulders.
I didn’t see anything all that wrong with what the judge did. When you deal with stupid black people on a regular basis, you learn to talk them like they are a bunch of retards, which many of them functionally are. You talk loud, and you talk slow, and you keep telling them to shut up, nicely of course, because if you don’t the blacks tend to blabber and argue with you. Plus, they will later say that they did not understand what the Court told them.
Objectively, the Judge arranged things to where the Defendant did not have to cough up any money, which was nice of her, but also smart because it would cost more to keep the old woman locked up than to just let her roll on out of the courtroom.
As far as blacks often being stupid and and obstinate, here is a video which demonstrates this better than anything else. The stupid black woman has a choice – sign the ticket, or go right then to see a judge. . .
You are so right and i commend you for being honest. That woman did not die because she was yelled at by that judge. she had been sick a long time..from smoking and drinking!!
Thank you! And I don’t want people to think that I don’t feel sorry for the old woman, because I do. But if you work with a lot of black clients, you just see so many old black women like her, who went down the wrong path 40+ years ago, having little heathens on welfare, and now they are on social security/disability/welfare getting less than a $1,000 per month, and having to eat cat food and turnip greens, and squabble over $10 electric fans. You just get immune to it once the new wears off.
Meanwhile, the old white broads (70+) who got married, and stayed married are doing pretty well. While, the generation of white women who are just behind them, and hitting their mid to late 50s, are doing not so well as a group.
“Shrew” comes to mind.
Oh yes what’s being said either correct or incorrect BUT here is AMAZING as well as a FANTASTIC “MATTER” for the HARRIS COUNTY CIVIL COURT OF LAW # 4 what now its going to says: ……..wether PLAINTIFF as well as Plaintiff’s Lawyer ARE not CRIMINALS in the SPIRIT/EYES of the LAW by filing of LATEST FAKE AND FRAUDULENT STATEMENT/DOCUMENT after LAPSES of very long period of more than SIX YEARS from the date of judgment, a false and fabricated ones with full of LIES in which it was requested to RELEASE said Court’s judgment
Kiss of Death
Her biography indicates she’s pushing 70. Her hair is dyed and it’s a reasonable wager she’s had work done by a plastic surgeon. From her profile
it would appear she is unmarried and childless. Presumably, there’s been a string of bfs whose dealings with her concluded with each one running screaming across the state line.
She was nearly 60 when she was elected to the bench. In New York, she’d have been compelled to retire at the end of 2019 or 2020, although you can apply to hear cases as a senior judge until you reach age 76. That she abruptly resigned from the court 3 days ago suggests that her time on the bench and her time as a prosecutor make for an adequate pension.
It is such a burden to the poor to be arrested for ‘crimes’ such as arguing over a fan. They can’t make bail so they sit in jail for a week at taxpayers expense (while the investors in those that are privatized or bid out contracting services make a hefty profit.) Then in their hand to mouth existence they have burdensome court fees. I applaud the womans’ attorney for requesting that her court costs be dropped. They are not criminals in the spirit of the law, they naively call the police to intervene in family disputes. I read many ridiculous arrests in the state attorneys office. Exsmple; two young sisters 18 and 19, were fighting so their mother called the police for help so no one would get hurt. One was cuffed and arrested for pulling her sisters hair. Now they have a record, now they try to post bail, can’t. Now they miss work, now they are fired at a Subway or wherever for missing work, now they have court costs, and here, to add insult to injury you must put up with derision from a judge who tells you to be quiet, don’t respond, not even to say yes, then asks you a direct question.
Very few people sit in jail ‘for a week’ on a disorderly conduct charge. And only a small minority of prison cells are maintained by private contractors, but it’s evidently enough to persuade the chronically resentful to whinge about it over and over and over. Over to you, Jill.
Judge Judy goes nuts. 19 year old mother has a 2 year old child, dead boyfriend & laughs.
I have seen far, far worse performances from the bench. By comparison, Judge Ehrlich was relatively mild. It is most unfortunate that the defendant died, but I doubt her death was caused by anything the judge did. The judge may have been a bit cranky that day, although one offensive performance should not cost the judge her job.
The judge made the correct ruling, releasing the defendant on her personal recognizance. She suggested that someone bring water to the defendant. The only really offensive statement was about the defendant’s breathing treatment.
Criminal arraignments can bring out the worst in a judicial officer. The defendants come out of the lockup high, strung out, hung over, mentally ill, unsanitary, whatever. They have spent the night in jail. They want to talk. The judge usually has a big caseload – Broward County is urban after all. If this was an isolated incident, I can forgive.
Forgive and Replace. The judge has not come out of lockup, is not high, strung out or hungover, is not mentally ill, has not spent the not in a noisy overcrowded prison. I live in Palm Beach county which borders Broward. Judges are held to a higher standard. Her demeanor to all in the courtroom was substandard.
It is good to hold judges to a higher standard. If this was a pattern with J. Ehrlich, I would agree that she should be removed. However, if this were a single incident and she was otherwise a good judge, I would be inclined to keep her on the bench. We all make mistakes when we open our mouths. We should be judged more on what we do rather than on what we say.
She’s already resigned. She’s nearly 70.
Nothing wrong with being nearly 70. Actually, she doesn’t look to bad for an almost septuagenarian.
Without a doubt, she’s had work done.
DSS – some people age better than others. 😉
You gonna tell me she’s Marie of Roumania?
Yes, correct. She shd never have bn a judge. So many elected here in Fla with no business having the robe on or a gavel in their hands.
OMGosh, I can’t even finish watching that! 🙀
Judge Not what you think you see when your brain does not work. The Judge needs to be disbarred so that she can not longer practice law.. Maybe she can clean outhouses.
Good riddance to Merrilee Ehrlich as Broward County Circuit Judge just for posting that disgusting video.
RIP Sandra Faye Twiggs.
The entirety of the arraignment was about seven minutes. I fail to see how the defendant delayed the proceedings, which seems to be the complaint the judge voices. I believe her ego, as it does so often in a great many individuals, got the best of her and led to her professional demise.
According to the video the defendant had no criminal record, was charged with a misdemeanor, and wheelchair bound. She prevents no apparent flight risk or propensity to harm an alleged victim. Furthermore most jails do not want sick and elderly remanded or booked into their facility. Considering this paragraph a proper and preferable course of action would be for the judge to immediately release the defendant on her own recognizance on condition she appear at the next court date. In fact, in the field if we happened upon an elderly and ill person having an arrest warrant we would call a judge, explain the circumstances, and the judge will quash the warrant and release of the defendant on a PR with an order to contact the court the next business day for instructions. I have never seen similar circumstance where the outcome was any different.
Some defendants need an admonishment from the judge, but Mrs. Twiggs was by no means one of them.
Now if we could only do that with the 9th Circuit…..
You have a wide vocabulary.
Exactly. You are a “mindreader”.
Clearly she’s been watching too much Judge Judy. Were she more like Judge Ito, she’d still have her job and the guilty would be going free.
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