BREAKING: Florida Appeals Court Orders a New Trial for Marissa Alexander
From The Grio:
The Florida mother was sentenced to 20 years in prison in May 2012. Alexander testified that her then-husband Rico Gray physically assaulted her on August 1, 2010, just one week after she gave birth to their baby daughter. She testified that following physical abuse, she escaped to the garage with intentions to leave the house, but the garage door was not working. She retrieved a gun, which she had a permit for, from a vehicle in the garage and reentered the house, where Gray confronted her in the kitchen. Alexander said Gray charged her “in a rage,” and she fired her gun into the air as a warning shot.
Alexander was charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon because Gray’s two sons, aged 10 and 12 at the time, were with him in the kitchen when the confrontation took place.
Alexander’s former husband whom she has twin boys with, Lincoln Alexander, spoke to The Grio over the summer saying that “Marissa’s spirits are high, and that she is ‘fully aware’ of the Zimmerman verdict, though he declined to elaborate on his or her feelings about it, given that they face the same prosecutor in Marissa’s case.”
The prosecutor, Angela Corey, argued Alexander acted on anger, rather than fear.
If there is going to be a new trial, Alexander and her attorney are still going to have to face Angela Corey. Corey is already notorious for what many believe is her and Bernie de la Rionda throwing the Trayvon Martin case, and her weird, triumphant smirk and demeanor immediately after the verdict was reached for Zimmerman confirmed the fears of many that the boy was lynched again, this time legally. In several cases where blacks have claimed the Stand Your Ground defense in Florida, they have been convicted of murder or manslaughter. This case, apparently, was different.
From The Huffington Post:
The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that a judge did not properly instruct the jury handling the case of Marissa Alexander.
But the appeals court also said the judge was right to block Alexander from using the state’s “stand your ground” law as a way to defend her actions.
From the judges’ opinion:
Appellant stood trial only after the trial court denied her pretrial motion seeking immunity from prosecution.1 She maintains the trial court abused its discretion in giving a self-defense instruction to the jury that, among other things, improperly shifted the burden to her to establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Mr. Gray was committing or was about to commit an aggravated battery when she discharged her pistol. At trial, the only real issue was whether she had acted in self-defense when she fired the gun. Because the jury instructions on self-defense were fundamental error, we reverse.
I refer you specifically to pages 5-8 in the provided pdf link above about how the court felt about Angela Corey’s not instructing the jury properly regarding self-defense as interpreted in Florida. In other words, Corey required that in order for Alexander to have been justified in firing the shot, she should have first sustained another injury, whether gunshot wound or battery, from her now ex-husband, Rico Gray. Can you believe that? The court said that this was not necessary, given Gray’s previous record of abuse against Marissa Alexander, who up until that time had never run afoul of the law.
Under the cases, the jury instructions’ requirement of an injury should have been eliminated. Since no injury occurred in the present case as a result of appellant’s firing her gun,4 the trial court erred in giving the standard jury instruction on justifiable use of deadly force in defense of self.
The defendant was “entitled to have the jury correctly instructed on self defense.” Montijo, 61 So. 3d at 427. The trial court committed fundamental error in requiring proof beyond a reasonable doubt that appellant’s husband committed aggravated battery immediately before she fired the warning shot, or would have done so but for the shot. [...]
Thousands protested what they perceived as a racial double standard within the Stand Your Ground law—that it was created more for paranoid and trigger-happy whites than blacks, who more often than not were unarmed when they were shot dead. And if blacks claimed it for shooting a white assailant, they were sent to jail. Agitation and advocacy on Alexander’s behalf was almost equal to that shown for Trayvon Martin and his parents, to the point where a clearly pressed Corey told a Washington Post reporter that she thought social media was going to be the death of the nation.
According to MSNBC, a separate hearing will have to be called to determine whether Alexander can be released on bail to await and prepare for the retrial. The judge should take into consideration that Alexander has expressed a wish to be with her children, and especially to bond with her infant daughter from whom she was separated when she was sent to prison. Furthermore, the judge should take into account that Alexander has the support of family member and friends, including her first husband, Lincoln, the father of her twin boys. Otherwise, left to her own resources, she may not be a threat to anyone, but she certainly needs therapy and comfort as well support during this critical time. She needs to laugh.
I look forward to bringing word of Alexander’s release pending trial in the near future.
- Angela Corey uses law to seek her version of justice (usatoday.com)
- Another Florida outrage – Free Marissa Alexander! (pslweb.org)
- More than 400 march for Justice through downtown Jacksonville (susancoopereastman.com)
- Another obvious mandatory sentencing injustice in Florida “warning shot” case (sentencing.typepad.com)
- #solidarityisforwhitewomen? Calling on atheist orgs to Support Marissa Alexander (freethoughtblogs.com)