SYG In Florida Only Applies to Some People

Different Laws for different folks in Florida…

Fresh on the tail of the release of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin comes this travesty. Where is the NRA? Where are the legions of conservative whites who only want to defend the law? This woman didn’t kill anyone – yet is sentenced to 20 years in jail?

You betcha…

Marissa Alexander, Woman Sentenced To 20 Years For Firing Warning Shot, Gets New Trial

A Florida woman serving 20 years in prison for firing a shot at her estranged husband during an argument will get a new trial, though she will not be able to invoke a “stand your ground” defense, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

The case of Marissa Alexander, a Jacksonville mother of three, has been used by critics of Florida’s “stand your ground” law and mandatory minimum sentences to argue that the state’s justice system is skewed against defendants who are black.

The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that Alexander deserves a new trial because the trial judge handling her case did not properly instruct the jury regarding what is needed to prove self-defense.

The ruling, written by Judge Robert Benton, said the instructions constituted a “fundamental error” and required Alexander to prove self-defense “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

But the court also made it clear in its ruling that the judge was right to block Alexander from using the state’s “stand your ground” law as a way to defend her actions. That law generally removes people’s duty to retreat in the face of possible danger and allows them to use of deadly force if they believe their lives are in danger.

Faith Gay, one of the attorneys representing the 33-year-old Alexander, said she was grateful for the “thorough consideration” provided by the appeals court.

“We are looking forward to taking the case back to trial,” Gay said.

Alexander had never been arrested before she fired a bullet at a wall one day in 2010 to scare off her husband when she felt he was threatening her. Nobody was hurt, but the judge in the case said he was bound by state law to sentence her to 20 years in prison after she was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Alexander has maintained that the shot fired was a warning shot.

The sentencing sparked criticism from the local NAACP chapter and the district’s African-American congresswoman, who said blacks more often are incarcerated for long periods because of overzealous prosecutors and judges bound by mandatory minimum sentences.

State Attorney Angela Corey, who oversaw the prosecution of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, has stood by the handling of Alexander’s case. Corey said she believes that Alexander aimed the gun at the man and his two sons, and that the bullet she fired could have ricocheted and hit any of them.

Jackelyn Barnard, a spokeswoman for Corey, said that the conviction was reversed on a legal technicality and that the office was gratified that the “stand your ground” ruling was upheld.

Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, called the ruling a “welcome development in a case that represents the double standards in our justice system.”

“From the streets to the courthouse, race continues to influence the judicial process, and it certainly seemed to have played a role here,” Jealous said in a statement issued by the civil rights organization.

The state’s “10-20-life” law was implemented in 1999 and credited with helping to lower the violent crime rate. Anyone who shows a gun in the commission of certain felonies gets an automatic 10 years in prison. Fire the gun, and it’s an automatic 20 years. Shoot and wound someone, and it’s 25 years to life.

On Aug. 1, 2010, Alexander was working for a payroll software company. She was estranged from her husband, Rico Gray, and had a restraining order against him, even though they’d had a baby together just nine days earlier. Thinking he was gone, she went to their former home to retrieve the rest of her clothes, family members said.

An argument ensued, and Alexander said she feared for her life when she went out to her vehicle to get the gun she legally owned. She came back inside and ended up firing a shot into the wall, which ricocheted into the ceiling.

Gray testified that he saw Alexander point the gun at him and looked away before she fired the shot. He claimed that she was the aggressor, and that he had begged her to put away the weapon.

The judge threw out Alexander’s “stand your ground” self-defense claim, noting that she could have run out of the house to escape her husband but instead got the gun and went back inside. Alexander rejected a plea deal that would have resulted in a three-year prison sentence and chose to go to trial. A jury deliberated 12 minutes before convicting her.

Alexander was also charged with domestic battery four months after the shooting in another assault on Gray. She pleaded no contest and was sentenced to time served.

Supporters of Alexander have asked Gov. Rick Scott to pardon Alexander, but her case has not yet been taken by the state’s clemency board.

Stand Your Ground – License to Murder

This is how “Stand Your Ground” really works…

It’s Not Just Zimmerman: Race Matters a Lot in ‘Stand Your Ground’ Verdicts

“The odds that a white-on-black homicide is ruled to have been justified is more than 11 times the odds a black-on-white shooting is ruled justified,” Roman concluded. “No dataset will ever be sufficient to prove that race alone explains these disparities. But there are disparities in whether homicides are ruled to be self-defense, and race is clearly an important part of the story.”

In the wake of the Zimmerman verdict, Roman provided me with his more recent, more fine-grained analysis of the relationships between shooters and victims, including the types of weapons involved. The racial (black-white) divide was strongest in just the kind of shooting that Zimmerman committed: a fatal shooting involving a handgun and two strangers of different races, neither of whom is in law enforcement. Even in states without “Stand Your Ground” laws, the numbers are stark; 29.3 percent of white-on-black shootings are ruled justifiable, while only 2.9 percent of black-on-white shootings are. But in states that have enacted “Stand Your Ground” laws, the situation is worse: 35.9 percent of white-on-black shootings are ultimately deemed to be self-defense. In the reverse situation, black-on-white shootings, only 3.4 percent of cases have ended with the same verdict.
Based on this new analysis, Roman tells me via email that: “The criminal justice system is rife with racial disparities. From searches of motor vehicles during traffic stops, to stop-and-frisk encounters and arrests, to sentencing and parole decisions, black Americans – especially young black males – come in contact with the police and courts far more often than their share of the population would predict. The chasm in justifiable homicide rulings, however, is vastly larger than other disparities and deserves intense scrutiny.”

“Stand Your Ground?” – Not So Fast!

This one should be interesting. The US Civil Rights Commission became a joke under the Bushit Administration when the Bushit stacked it with the usual conservaracist ideologues, provided racial cover by the Usual Uncle Tom black conservative.  Unless the Comissioners have changed, then about the only thing that will come out of this is a recommendation to put a statue of George Zimmerman in front of MLK’s statue on the mall as a “National Hero”.

The New Jim Crow legalizes the murder by gun of black folks, unlike the Old Jim Crow, which just didn’t prosecute it.

The George W. Bush, US Comission on Civil Rights

US Commission on Civil Rights to Investigate “Stand Your Ground” Laws for Racial Bias

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announced it will launch an inquiry into so-called “Stand Your Ground” legislation for racial bias. The laws, which gained notoriety after the shooting of Trayvon Martin, eliminated the duty to retreat from a confrontation that has existed as part of the common law for hundreds of years.

According to the Commission, there are “some indicators of racial bias” in how the laws have been implemented. From the release:

Data compiled by the Wall Street Journal shows a near-doubling of justifiable homicides from 2005-2011 in states where SYG [Stand Your Ground] has passed. Moreover, their data shows that while white killers of black victims comprises only 3.1% of all homicides, such cross-racial killing constitute 15.6% of justifiable homicides.

A separate study by the FBI found “34% of cases involving a white shooter killing a black person were deemed as a justifiable homicide. Meanwhile, in similar situations, when the shooter was black and the victim was white, the homicide was ruled justifiable only 3.3% of the time.”

The committee plans to hold hearings and release the findings of their study within one year.

In the last 7 years, 23 states have adopted “Stand Your Ground” legislation at the urging of the right wing American Legislative Exchange Council.

Florida Governor Rick Scott has also convened a committee to study Stand Your Ground but has stacked the group with supporters of the law.

A Hoodie and a Pair of General George Patton Pistols

New Dress Code to hit the convenience store for a bag of Skittles!

A Hoodie and a pair of General George Patton Pistols…

Old Panthers never die…

American General and WWII Hero General George Patton's pearl handled, custom engraved Colt .45

Save a tree! Plant a Republican…

Indeed.

Fla. ‘Stand Your Ground’ sponsor talks about Martin case

“Stand Your Ground Law” Sponsor says law does not apply in the Zimmerman-Martin case.

 

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