All Articles Tagged "florida"
Marissa Alexander, the Jacksonville, Florida woman who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband will know this week whether or not she’s getting out of jail…at least temporarily.
Judge James Daniel set a hearing for Friday, November 8 at 2p.m. to decide whether or not Alexander will get bail. If she is granted bail, Alexander will be able to to wait for her new trial in the comfort of her own home instead of inside of a prison. The new trial date is set to start Monday, March 31.
Alexander, who was sentenced to 20 years in March 2012, has maintained her innocence ever since.
The appellate court ruled that Judge Daniel made a mistake in instructing the jury that Alexander would have to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that she acted in self defense when she fired the gun, that she was being battered by Gray at the time.
The appellate court says instead that the burden should have been on the prosecution to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Alexander was not acting in self defense, meaning that she fired the gun when there was no threat against herself.
Alexander’s new attorney, Bruce Zimet said that in Marissa’s new trial, the “Stand Your Ground” law will play an important role in the reopened case. Alexander attempted to cite “Stand Your Ground” in the first case but Judge Elizabeth Senterfitt rejected it.
Alexander said the altercation between she and her husband, Rico Gray, started when he accused her of infidelity and asked whether the child she had given birth to a week earlier was his or not.
Alexander was originally granted bail in 2010 after the incident and was released. But bail was revoked when she went to go see Gray in February of 2011 after she had been ordered to stay away from him.
We’re hoping and praying that everything works out in Marissa’s favor this time around, that she is granted bail and her 20 year sentence is ultimately thrown out. Not only does Marissa’s case highlight the inconsistencies and flaws of the “Stand Your Ground” law, it also sends a message to domestic violence victims that if they try to defend themselves they run the risk of winding up in jail for decades while their abuser remains free.
It looks like Marissa Alexander, the woman who was sentenced to 20 years after firing a warning will have a chance to get the justice that she was initially denied.
The Associated Press is reporting that a Florida appeals court ordered a new trial for Alexander. The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that the judge did not properly instruct the jury handling Marissa’s case. But the appeals court also said that the judge was right in blocking Alexander from using the “Stand Your Ground” law to rationalize her actions.
Which further highlights flaws in this law. If an abusive husband, who already had a restraining order placed against him was in her house threatening her, was not the time to defend yourself, then when is it?
If there was anything good that came from the acquittal of George Zimmerman, it was the fact that it sparked discussion about “Stand Your Ground” and the cases that can and cannot use “Stand Your Ground” as a defense. Even though Zimmerman’s attorneys have said time and time again that this was not a part of their defense, Zimmerman himself was well aware of the law and it prompted discussion about its use and fairness. This is how many of us learned about Marissa Alexander’s case and the outcome of her first trial.
We’ve reported, on several occasions about the unjust incarceration of the Florida mother of three. Alexander was brought to trial and sentenced to 20 years after her then husband Rico Gray physically assaulted her on August 1, 2010, a week after she’d given birth to her youngest daughter. She testified that she escaped to the garage attempting to leave the house but the garage door was not working. She found a gun, which she had a permit for, and went back into the house. Gray confronted her again in the kitchen, charging at her “in a rage.” She fired the gun in the air and was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
And while Zimmerman killed a child and walked away free, Alexander, who had never been arrested before, was incarcerated and has already spent over a year in prison.
Hopefully now that the law has come under attack and we’ve seen the way it doesn’t actually protect anyone, the outcome of her second trial will be different.
Whatever you just said to yourself, I’ve already said it. Deal with it and let’s move on. Rapper Plies recently showed off his brand new Trayvon Martin Tribute gold chain.
Rapper have always been known to find their own unique ways to show love, honor and respect to someone or something that meant a lot to them. We know that many of them were deeply affected by the death of Trayvon Martin and the results varied from rap songs in dedication to tattoos in Trayvon’s memory.
Earlier this week, Plies posted a video on Youtube showcasing his new Trayvon Martin tribute gold chain. In the video, he stated:
“…Wanted to make sure I had the homie around my neck at all times. He impacted my life just that much. Double salute to the whole Martin family. I wanna tell you rest in peace, homie. I’ma keep you around my neck at all times. It’s just that important to me, man. Trayvon, you’ll forever live on.”
Sure, there’s a lot you can say about this. “Oh, why didn’t he donate some money to the foundation?” “This is stupid.” I’m sure there are valid thoughts and opinions across the board; however, this is what he thought was most appropriate for him. Plies is not known for intellectual rhymes (he might be the most recent king of ratchet and raunchy music) so I don’t think anyone would expect him to write some deeply moving article or anything (but don’t get it twisted – he’s actually not an ignorant man at all).
That said…I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. Check out the video below!
Eighteen-year-old Gabrielle Turnquest has made history becoming the youngest to pass the Bar exam at England’s University of Law.
The Windermere, Florida native took the bar exam alongside her 22-year-old sister Kandi, who also passed, qualifying the two sisters to practice law in the U.K.
“I am honored to be the youngest person to pass the Bar exams but, really, I was not aware at the time what the average age was,” she told The Telegraph.
According to The University of Law records, the average age of a graduating lawyer is 27 years old–Turnquest completed the program 11 years below the average age. Quite impressive for the teen who plans on returning to the U.S. where she will attempt yet another bar exam to qualify practicing law in her home state.
“I didn’t fully realize the impact of it,” she says seemingly unaffected by the fact that she has just made history.
This may be just a natural progression for the youngster who graduated from the University of Virginia at 16 with a degree in psychology.
Good for her (and her sister)! You can read the rest over on Essence.com. Turnquest has many big dreams and so she’s headed back to school in the Fall. It looks like we’ll be hearing more from this young lady in the future!
Back To Court: Royce Reed Says Dwight Howard Has Taken Their Son…And She Doesn’t Know Where They Are
Well, it was only a matter of time before these two were back in the media for more antics.
According to TMZ, former “Basketball Wife” Royce Reed has gone to what we assume is a Florida court to ask for an emergency hearing to find her son, Braylon. Braylon is the son she shares with basketball star Dwight Howard. Royce claims Braylon went to California to visit Dwight but she hasn’t heard from them since he’s been there.
Royce also says Braylon has a medical condition and is out of medicine. According to her, Dwight hasn’t bothered to refill Braylon’s prescription.
In her alleged filing for this hearing, Royce says Dwight’s parents called her at some point to let her know Dwight and Braylon were in Colorado. Royce is asking that the court order Dwight to refill the prescription so their son’s health won’t be in danger. Further, she wants to know exactly where their son and how she can get in touch with him.
See, this interesting because after a quick search, this popped up on Royce’s Twitter timeline:
So, how can it be that she’s saying she hasn’t heard from him since he got to California when she tweeted that he’d been there for a month and she, in fact, went to visit? The only possible explanations are: (1) there’s no truth to this filing or (2) maybe the details are a little incorrect.
Many of us who’ve seen Royce on Basketball Wives know she can be a bit dramatic but I don’t think she’d be dumb enough to file a claim like this when there’s evidence on the internet to dispute it. Not that Dwight couldn’t or shouldn’t refill the child’s medicine but if she was out there, she could have done it too.
A judge has yet to rule on whether or not a hearing is necessary.
Things that make you go hmmmm…
Here She Goes! Lil Mo Questions How Stevie Wonder Would Know Whether Or Not He’s Performing In Florida
While many people are proud of artists like Stevie Wonder and Mary Mary taking a stand by choosing to no longer perform in Florida until the “Stand Your Ground” laws are changed, there are those – one, in particular – who question their actions.
On Friday night, Lil Mo, took to her Twitter page to “call out” Stevie Wonder for his stance and as usual, she threw some shade:
Oh yes, the woman went there about Stevie’s team possibly booking a show for him in Florida anyway and him not finding out the truth because he’s blind. She added that his team has basically dedicated their lives to his career and for him to make that decision, it takes money out of their pockets. Of course, she must have forgotten that Stevie Wonder performs at seemingly every event around the world so not performing in Florida may not kill anyone’s pockets as much as she’d like to believe.
Mo, on the other hand, does not really like to turn down a dollar. If any of you have been watching R&B Divas: Los Angeles, you know that she is very clear on doing almost anything she can just to make some money. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that she might not be a person in this position. As it stands, she can’t be in that position because…well, when was the last time promoters in Florida were booking Lil Mo left and right to perform there?
Girl, I guess.
What do you think about Mo’s take on the Boycott in Florida? What’s yours?
From The Grio
Florida fans of Stevie Wonder who want to see the legend sing are going to have to go on a road trip for the near future. During a performance in Quebec City, Canada, on Sunday, the Grammy-winning performer spoke out about the recent acquittal of George Zimmerman and announced he would boycott the state.
“I decided today that until the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again,” he told the audience. “As a matter of fact, wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world.”
Though the “stand your ground” law arguably was not a factor in Zimmerman’s acquittal, it was a much-discussed potential motivation for Zimmerman’s actions on the night of Feb. 26, 2012, when he and Martin had their deadly encounter.
Earlier in his over three-minute announcement, captured by a fan at the concert on YouTube, Wonder asked his fans to join him in the boycott.
“For those that we have lost in the battle for justice, wherever that fits in any part of the world — we can’t bring them back,” he said. “(What) we can do is we can let our voices be heard. And we can vote in our various countries throughout the world for change and equality for everybody. That’s what I know we can do.”
See Stevie’s reaction to the Zimmerman trial at TheGrio.com
Legal analysts are arguing that the George Zimmerman verdict was no surprise based on Florida’s strict “Stand Your Ground” laws. And though the verdict seemed to be a “no-brainer” for the jury assigned to George Zimmerman’s case, things didn’t play out so well for Marissa Alexander.
Last year, we reported about Marissa’s case and the open letter she’d written requesting justice. Alexander, a 31 year old black woman also living in Florida, was sentenced to 20 years in prison last year for shooting what she described as “warning shots” into a wall during an altercation with her husband. Alexander had a protective order against her husband who had a history of being abusive. No one was injured during the shooting but Alexander was sent to prison.
Alexander was convicted under Florida’s “10-20-Life” law which set minimum sentence for crimes committed with a firearm. The 1999 law requires that any gun related crime earns the assailant a ten year minimum sentence. If the gun is fired the assailant will receive a 20 year minimum sentence and if the gun injures or kills someone, the minimum sentence is 25 years to life.
Since Zimmerman’s acquittal, people are starting to ask questions about Alexander’s conviction.
Angela Corey, Florida’s state attorney, who oversaw the prosecution of George Zimmerman and also tried the case against Alexander defended the sentencing when it was handed down a year ago.
Corey told the Florida Times-Union: “When she [Alexander] discharges a firearm in the direction of human beings, the legislature says it’s dangerous. And one of the reasons is because the bullet went through the wall where one of the children was standing. It happened to deflect up into the ceiling, but if it had deflected down it could have hit one of the children.”
Alexander’s attorney argued self defense just like Zimmerman’s defense team but when her attorney tried to have her case retried under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, Circuit Court Judge James Daniel denied it.
I’m still trying to wrap my mind around all of this. The racial disparity seems to be the only difference between Alexander’s conviction and Zimmerman’s acquittal. Oh, that and the fact that Alexander didn’t harm or injure anyone and Zimmerman killed a teenage boy. It’s disgusting.
Hopefully, Zimmerman’s acquittal will yield to something good in that someone revisits Alexander’s case and either reduces or eliminates her jail time.
Back & Forth: Zimmerman’s Defense Attorney Tears Up Discussing Trayvon Martin But Attacks His Character
The Trayvon Martin family was right to ask for prayers in the upcoming trial against George Zimmerman. The 29 year old shot and killed a 17 year old Martin last year during a neighborhood watch shift. Whatever happens, it’s going to be a long, emotional road for all parties involved.
Recently in an interview with BET, George Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mike O’ Mara, sat down to talk about his ignorance considering race relations in this country. He admitted that before the trial he never thought:
“I’m not black. I can’t look at it with those eyes. I always thought I was sensitive to it [race], always thought I was aware of it, but this has really brought to the forefront the depth of concern that the Black community has of how they’re being treated. I guess I didn’t realize that we still have so far to go.”
The Florida attorney said that initially he believed that the country had come much farther since the Civil Rights Movement. When he was asked if the trial has been taking a toll on him emotionally, O’Mara wiped tears from his eyes.
Watch a video of the interview below.
While I don’t doubt O’Mara’s sincerity in his emotions, I also know he is still trying to win this case for his client and possibly for himself as well. O’Mara has been defending Zimmerman, shortly after charges of second degree murder were brought against him, for free. He hasn’t received a paycheck and is asking people to donate to Zimmerman’s defense fund because the previous donations have dwindled to just $5,000.
O’Mara is invested and obviously wants to win. He has launched a smear campaign attempting to attack Martin’s character. In a hearing on May 28, O’Mara stated that the defense team had a video from Trayvon Martin’s phone that showed “two buddies of his beating up a homeless guy.”
But that was incorrect, the video on Martin’s phone showed two homeless men fighting each other over a bike. He did apologize for mischaracterizing the nature of the video. The defense team released this statement:
“Though it was unintentional, it is a particular concern to us because we are and have been committed to disputing misinformation in every aspect of this case, not causing it. For that, Mr. O’Mara apologizes.”
O’Mara apologizes for this incident but it doesn’t erase the fact that he’s consistently tried to attack the character of a person, a teenager, who shouldn’t have to and is no longer here to defend himself. Earlier this year, Zimmerman’s defense team leaked pictures and text messages from Trayvon’s phone in an attempt to cast him in a bad light.
Whatever activities Trayvon may have been engaged in before his death, it really has no bearing on what George Zimmerman, and not Trayvon Martin, is standing trial for.
The Martin family attorney, Ben Crump had this to say about O’Mara’s error in describing the video and his subsequent apology.
“George Zimmerman’s defense team’s so called apology yesterday for manipulating and mis-characterizing information about Trayvon Martin would be laughable in any other context, if this case wasn’t about the murder of an unarmed teenager. Let’s not forget the defense team has spent weeks now engaged in a despicable campaign to assassinate the character of a dead teenager in an attempt to influence a potential jury pool. Thankfully, the judge in this case has sided with the laws of evidence in saying that such information is irrelevant to the case, reminding us all that Trayvon is not on trial, but George Zimmerman is for 2nd degree murder.”
What do you make of O’Mara’s reaction and his campaign against Trayvon?
A couple of weeks ago, we reported that Florida student Kiera Wilmot was not only suspended and faced expulsion from Bartow High School, she was facing adult, felony charges for possessing a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device. Those destructive devices were a household cleaner and aluminum foil which Wilmot mixed together in a water bottle for a science project. She was arrested at school when the chemicals exploded.
Fortunately, yesterday the State Attorney’s office announced that the charges against Wilmot will be dropped.
Wilmot’s attorney, Larry Hardaway, says that Wilmot served a 10 day suspension and is now attending an alternative school.
Though the felony charges were dropped, there are still conditions Wilmot has to meet in order to clear her name.
The State Attorney’s office said that they extended Wilmot an “offer of diversion of prosecution” meaning she would be enrolled in a probationary-like program where she’ll perform community service or meet other requirements to avoid a criminal record.
There are no details about the agreement Wilmot was offered but Brian Haas, a spokesman for the state attorney, said that both Wilmot and her guardian signed the agreement.
Hardaway, the family attorney, said now he’s focused on ensuring that Wilmot isn’t expelled so she can return to Bartow High for the next school year.
The Polk County school district released a statement saying that would “take the State Attorney’s decision into consideration in determining what, if any, further disciplinary action is appropriate.”