All Articles Tagged "Marissa Alexander"
Florida and State Attorney Angela Corey can’t seem to get it right. We were all hoping that because Marissa Alexander was getting a new trial after her sentence was overturned in September, she could get a break since her 20-year sentence (a mandatory penalty because her case involved a gun) was extremely over-the-top. But according to MSNBC, Alexander could now face 60 years in prison for firing what she says was one “warning” shot in the direction of her estranged husband, who was reportedly abusive and attacked her prior to the firing of the shot, which occurred back in 2010. She did so inside of her Jacksonville home and no one was hurt in the confrontation.
The office of State Attorney Angela Corey has made it clear that when Alexander’s trial begins again this summer (set to begin on July 28), Corey and her team will seek to put Alexander away for 60 years because according to a statement put out recently by her team, “Absent a plea agreement, if convicted as charged, the law of the State of Florida fixes the sentence.” According to reports, sentencing laws of the state have changed since Alexander was originally convicted in 2012. She will be retried on three counts of aggravated assault. Alexander’s case became national news because of the fact that she tried to use the state’s Stand-Your-Ground law as part of her defense, a law that has come under great scrutiny over the last few years. Since her case became front-page news, it has inspired efforts to try and expand the state’s “Stand-Your-Ground” laws so that they also include warning shots.
Corey, known for her prosecution of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin, has been accused of having a vendetta against Alexander. Just this past January she tried to have Alexander put back in jail for running errands and driving around with relatives. A request for Alexander’s imprisonment was denied because a correctional service counselor gave Alexander approval to make such trips.
Those behind the Free Marissa Now campaign said in a statement to the press that such a massive sentence would send a message that defending your own life against abuse makes you the bad guy in a court of law:
“Incarcerating Marissa Alexander will send a strong message to all survivors that violence against them will be ignored and they instead will be subject to prosecution if they defend their lives.”
What do you think about State Attorney Corey’s pursuit of a possible 60 years in prison for Alexander?
Earlier this week, we told you that Florida’s State Attorney, Angela Corey, submitted a petition to revoke Marissa Alexander’s bond. Corey claimed that Alexander ran errands while she was on house arrest, violating the conditions of her home detention release. But today, the court upheld Alexander’s release and she will not have to go back to prison while she awaits her second trial.
Alexander’s legal team was able to prove that a Service counselor, who supervised Marissa’s house, approved every trip and asserted that Alexander was not in violation of the terms of her release.
Many, including the “Free Marissa Now,” group believe that Corey’s actions are yet another example of the harassment Alexander has received since the beginning of her case. One member of the group, Aleta Slton-Touré said, “While we are relieved that Corey’s motion was denied, we must ask the question, why is Angela Corey targeting rather than supporting Marissa Alexander, a victim of domestic violence who defended her life after her husband strangled her and threatened to have her killed?”
Good question, indeed.
State Attorney Angela Corey Seeks To Revoke Marissa Alexander’s Bond Because She Allegedly Ran “Errands”
Not even two months after Marissa Alexander was released on bail, Florida Special Prosecutor Angela Corey is seeking to revoke her bond.
According to First Coast News, Angela filed the motion, insisting that Marissa violated the terms of her release. If you recall, Marissa was to remain on home detention; however, according to Angela’s motion, Marissa left her home on several occasions to “run errands.” According to Jacksonville.com, her alleged errands consisted of shopping for clothes, getting a new driver’s license, going to the bank and driving family members to the hair salon and airport.
Marissa, who was released on bond on Nov. 27, spent the last two years in prison for firing a warning shot during a domestic dispute with her husband, who admitted that he threatened to kill her. After passing on a 3-year plea deal for the offense, Marissa was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Representatives on behalf of Marissa have yet to publicly comment on Angela’s motion and allegations.
A hearing regarding Marissa’s bond violation is scheduled for this Friday. We will keep you posted as this story develops.
Dear My Fellow Fed-Up Sistas and Brothas,
This has been a particularly trying year for people of color, hasn’t it? The cold-blooded killer of an innocent, college-bound, black boy went free. A former college football star was shot dead when running to the police for help. Blackface Halloween costumes seemed to be all the rage this year. A young black man was racially profiled, arrested and detained for buying a $350 belt at a high-end clothing store. A young black woman had her head blown off for seeking help after a car accident. Racist columnists showed, in no uncertain terms, just what they thought of New York City’s new mayor and his racially mixed family.
We are trying to process such regression of race relations and civil rights in a country that can boast progression in almost every other area. We are all dealing with it. How well we’re dealing with it is anyone’s guess at this point. Some of us choose to get involved in the legal processes. Some are engaging in thought-provoking, life-changing discussion. Some are creating art in all forms to spread messages of nonviolence, anti-racism and unity.
And there are the others. The point-of-view police. Calling folks out far and wide for tweeting or retweeting jokes, but not discussing Marissa Alexander’s trial. Questioning folks’ dedication to their race and The Struggle because they choose not to participate in race discussions. I do believe you mean well. You’re fed up like the rest of us. You’re livid and God knows you have every right to be. We all do. Trying to spread the message of racial equality only to be met with more murders and cases of racial profiling is enough to keep us all either living in a constant state of fear or animosity. We’ve been fighting the same fight for eons and forward movement seems slow at best.
What we have to remember is not to turn our frustrations on one another. We are all in this thing together. We are all coping the best way we know how. For some of us, coping looks like an hours-long Twitter discussion about the insistent choice of law enforcement (and society at large) to blame the victim of even the most debased hate crimes. For some of us, using that space as a starting point to unapologetically raise our voices and organize against racial inequity is powerful. For some of us, that is where our talents best serve. Others choose to talk less and involve themselves in whatever physical labors of unity their hands can find to further the cause. Protesting. Taking classes on race relations. Establishing relationships with local law enforcement.
And then some of us are silent and motionless. Some of us don’t know what to say. Some of us don’t know what to do. We feel helpless at first so we crack jokes, unsure of how else to bring comfort to so many of our people who are hurting and angry. Some of us avoid direct contact with the issues until we can make sense of them by ourselves first. And there is no shame in that.
We are all feeling our way through this. Lashing out at those who respond differently than you do is not a solution to the problem we’re facing as a people. Deriding each other for processing, thinking, feeling, reacting to troubling race related news in a way you might not readily understand does nothing to coax even the slightest bit of solidarity out from behind the shadows of fear, pain and indecision. Only patience, understanding and affirmation will do that. Let us remember to embrace one another, but bare our teeth toward racism. That is the only way to honor those we’ve lost.
Peace to Trayvon Martin.
Peace to Jonathan Ferrell.
Peace to Renisha McBride.
And to the rest of those whose lives have been lost but whose names will continue to inspire the fight against racism, peace to you.
After spending over 1,000 days behind bars, the Florida woman who was sentenced to twenty years in prison for firing off what was said to be a warning shot to scare off her abusive husband, has been released from prison. And thankfully, just in time to spend Thanksgiving with her family—including her youngest child, whom her attorney says has been without her mother for the first three years of her life.
According to First Coast News, Marissa Alexander was released on $200,000 bond Wednesday night at 10:30 pm. The Duval County Clerk of Court says Alexander was granted a pretrial release with special conditions. If you recall, though Alexander merely fired a warning shot and no one was injured during the incident, she was charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, which resulted in a mandatory 20-year sentence thanks to Florida’s “10-20-Life” law. The 2012 conviction was overturned this past September when a judge ordered a retrial after finding that an unfair burden was placed on Alexander’s defense to prove that she fire the shot in self-defense.
The Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign released a celebratory statement acknowledging the Florida mom’s release on Thanksgiving morning.
“Words cannot express the relief and joy of everyone in the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign that Marissa Alexander is home with her family this Thanksgiving Day,” organizers wrote
“We are thrilled that Ms. Alexander will be able to prepare for her new trial amid the support and love of her children and family from whom she has been separated far too long,” the statement continued.
This is great news for Alexander, who has been experiencing major difficulties regarding bond hearings. We’re thrilled that she was able to spend Thanksgiving with her family. Her new trial is set to begin March 31, 2014.
Earlier this month, we mentioned that Marissa Alexander, the woman who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot at her husband, had a chance at a new trial. And then we learned that her attorneys were fighting to get her released on bond while she waited for that new trial.
Yesterday, Judge James Daniel refused to make a decision about whether or not Marissa would be able to be released on bond. Daniel said he would rule later on an unspecified date.
He said in court, “I’ll get to this as soon as I can,” claiming that he has 50 other cases in his docket.
According to Jackonsville.com, State attorney Richard Mantei argued Alexander should stay in jail and not be released on bond because she still poses a threat to Rico Gray, her estranged husband. Alexander was originally released on bond after the incident between she and her husband occurred in August 2010. She was ordered to stay away from her husband. But she violated the judge’s orders and went to see Gray and beat him in the face. She pled no contest and was sentenced to time served.
For this reason Mantei believes Alexander, if released, would repeat this same behavior. But Alexander’s attorney, Bruce Zimet, argued that his client should be granted bail because Gray sent text messages to Alexander asking if he could still have sex with her.
This information may seem completely unrelated, but Alexander’s attorneys argue that if he is attempting to have sex with her, he is no longer afraid of what she might do to him if released.
Zimet also said that if bond were granted Alexander would stay away from Gray, observe a curfew from dusk til dawn and work as a custodian at the Justice Faith Chapel Church of God.
While Judge Daniel is refusing to make a ruling, his indecision means that Alexander will have to go back to jail in the meantime.
Alexander’s next pretrial hearing is set for January 15 and her new trial will take place March 31.
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.
After a series of protests done across the country since the “Not Guilty” verdict of George Zimmerman, according to Reuters, lawmakers in Florida plan to hold hearings this fall to re-examine the “Stand Your Ground” laws in that state. The “Stand Your Ground” law allows those who fear for their life (whether the threat is truly deadly or not) to use deadly force to defend themselves rather than trying to move away from the situation. It has received major criticism for being unfairly applied and was put front and center during the Zimmerman trial. An announcement was made on Friday by Will Weatherford, the Republican speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives who said that after receiving a barrage of calls, letters, emails and responses from everyday people, as well as celebrities, Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama, he wanted to give people a chance to express their views and see what changes could possibly be made. According to the Huffington Post, Weatherford wrote an op-ed about the law and the public outcry, but it’s not yet clear what exact date the hearings will start and end:
“Across Florida, representatives are receiving calls, letters, visits and emails from constituents with diverse opinions on ‘Stand Your Ground. Passions are high, but every person has the right to express their views on this matter of great importance.
Our evaluation of its (the law’s) effectiveness should be guided by objective information, not by political expediency.
Does the law keep the innocent safer? Is it being applied fairly? Are there ways we can make this law clearer and more understandable?”
While some say violent crime has decreased since “Stand Your Ground” laws were enacted in different states, others say it’s racially biased. According to Reuters, a recent poll found that “a strong majority of white voters and men support the laws, while black voters generally oppose them and women are almost evenly divided.” I agree that a major conversation needs to be had about “Stand Your Ground” laws, especially after the case of Marissa Alexander, who received 20 years just for firing a warning shot at a wall at her abusive husband, and tried to use “Stand Your Ground” only to be rejected. When does it work? And more importantly, who does it work for? Fingers crossed that this will bring some real change.
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.