SYG In Florida Only Applies to Some People

28 Sep

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.


Posted by on September 28, 2013 in The New Jim Crow


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5 responses to “SYG In Florida Only Applies to Some People

  1. lwk2431

    September 28, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    “Thinking he was gone, she went to their former home to retrieve the rest of her clothes, family members said.”

    In doing so she violated her own restraining order against her husband.

    Once there she got into an argument with her husband, then LEFT THE ROOM and went to the garage and retrieved a handgun and RETURNED TO THE ROOM and discharged the firearm in the direction of her husband, endangering the lives of children standing close to her husband.

    If you leave the scene to retrieve a firearm and return and fire a gun then you are clearly not acting in legal self defense and stand your ground doesn’t apply.

    She was given an opportunity to accept a plea bargain and apparently was too stupid to take it. Then given mandatory sentencing she got 20 years. Judge by law had to give her 20 years.

    It is good she is getting new trial but she deserves to spend some time in jail. But 20 years was clearly too much, but that was due to stupid mandatory sentencing laws.



    • btx3

      September 29, 2013 at 9:51 AM

      My understanding is he discharged the firearm into the ceiling…Which is hardly “in her husband’s direction”.

      Alexander, who had given birth the week before, testified that after an altercation regarding texts from her ex-husband, she locked herself in the bathroom. Her husband Rico Gray broke through the door, grabbed her by the neck, and shoved her into the door. She ran to the garage, found she couldn’t get the door open, and returned with a gun. When Gray saw the gun, he said, “Bitch, I’ll kill you.” Alexander testified that firing the gun into the air as a warning shot was “the lesser of two evils.”

      Her testimony — By all accounts Alexander had recently returned to her home from the hospital, after having given birth to the couple’s daughter, when husband Rico Gray arrived at the house. In a disposition given before trial, he admitted to abusing many women.

      His testimony —“I got five baby mammas, and I [hit] every last one of them, except for one,” he said.

      Gray was arrested in 2006 and 2009 for domestic battery. In 2006 the charge was dropped and in 2009 he received probation, The Florida Times-Union reported. Alexander was granted a restraining order against Gray after his 2009 arrest.
      On the day Alexander fired the gun, Gray said, the couple got into an argument and he refused to let her leave a bathroom. “[S]he got the bathroom door closed and she locked it, so I were beating on it. [I] was there waiting for her to come out of the bathroom,” Gray said in his deposition.

      She managed to escape the bathroom and went to the home’s garage, Gray said. “She came back through the doors and she had a gun. And she said, ‘You need to leave.’ I told her, I ain’t leaving until you talk to me… and I started walking towards her and she shot in the air,” he said.

      So I am not sure where you got your information.


    • batai52

      October 31, 2013 at 10:17 AM

      “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.”

      Are you serious? After his constant lies can you actually believe ANYTHING that RG said? If so I have a bridge I would love to sell you. Did you read his deposition where he specifically states that at no time did Marissa ever point the gun at anyone?

      16:18 2 Q: Do you think Marissa was doing more than just trying to defend herself?

      16:20 1 Q: Did she ever point the gun at you?

      A: The gun was never actually pointed at me. When she raised the gun down and raised it up, you know, the gun was never pointed at me.

      16:23 21 Q: Have you ever told Marissa in the past, that is before this incident on August 1st. that we’ve been talking about, did you ever tell her that if she ever cheated on you that you would kill her?

      16:23 1 A: Yeah, I did.

      Why was there no testimony from witnesses allowed who could tell the jury about Gray’s history of violence against women. Why was there no testimony allowed from professionals in the Domestic Violence field? Because of his constant abuse upon Marissa why didn’t they allow any input from concerning the pathologies of abused women?

      And there are more disputes about significant facts in the case, including whether Alexander could have escaped out the garage instead of getting her gun and returning to the house. According to a sworn deposition taken in November 2010, Gray, 36, said said he “knew she couldn’t leave out the garage door because the garage door was locked” But in her ruling against allowing Alexander “stand your ground” immunity, Judge Elizabeth Senterfitt wrote that “there was no evidence presented to support her claim.” So please tell me? WTF?

      When State Prosecutor Corey initially offered Alexander a three year deal. How much time was Marissa given to consider the deal? Less than an hour. That doesn’t matter as much as Marissa was not going to take the plea. Why should she? In her mind and heart she was innocent. Plea deals are only taken by criminals who knew they committed the crime and want a softer deal. The word Felon would have followed her and jeopardized her very life, her right to vote, employment and more. She is not a criminal. Period! She is being used as scapegoat for the State Prosecutors’ personal problems with women and I personally believe that she was emotionally comprised as the Syrian uprising started during the same time as she Corey was prosecuting this case.



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