A judge has been forced into early retirement after video surfaced of her berating a wheelchair-bound defendant in her courtroom.
Inmate Sandra Twiggs, who suffers from asthma and chronic lung disease, requested medical treatment at the hearing, but died three days later after her requests were ignored.
Footage from inside the Florida courtroom shows Broward Circuit Judge Merrilee Ehrlich talking over the top of Ms Twiggs, telling her: “Don’t say anything beyond what I am asking you!”
When she brought up the subject of medical assistance, Ms Twiggs was quickly interrupted by the judge.
“Ma’am, I am not here to talk to you about your breathing treatment,” Judge Ehrlich said.
Ms Twiggs, 59, had been arrested on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge following an argument with her daughter at her home, according to the Sun Sentinel.
She was allowed to be released without bond, but three days after the hearing Ms Twiggs died in her sleep.
Broward Chief Administrative Judge Jack Tuter said Judge Ehrlich was asked not to return to the courthouse after the incident.
“In light of recent events we have decided Judge Ehrlich will be told not to return to the courthouse as her retirement is effective June 30,” Tuter told the Sun Sentinel.
“I will be working this weekend to find a substitute to cover Judge Ehrlich’s [family court] division.”
Judge Ehrlich has gone into immediate retirement.
Tuter said he would contact Ms Twiggs’ family to offer his apologies.