Marissa Alexander of Jacksonville, Fla. was sentenced to 20 years in prison on July 12 for firing warning shots inside her home in an effort to protect herself from her allegedly abusive husband.
The Fla. mom was hoping that the Fla. “Stand Your Ground” law would apply to her case as she was defending herself against her husband at the time she fired those warning shots, according to CBS News.
Alexander had requested a new trial based upon her state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, but was denied that request.
After those shots were fired in August 2010, Alexander explained to police that they were fired to avoid “a brutal beating by her husband, against whom she had already taken out a protective order.”
Because she fired a gun, Marissa Alexander was not eligible for a more lenient sentence.
… the case fell under Florida’s “10-20-life” law, enacted in 1999, which mandates a 20-year sentence for use of a gun during the commission of certain crimes.
Circuit Court Judge James Daniel said that the “10-20-life” law “did not allow for extenuating or mitigating circumstances to reduce the sentence below the 20-year minimum,” even though Alexander didn’t have a criminal record and had never been in any trouble with the law prior to this incident.
Fla. State Attorney Angela Corey led the prosecution in the case against Alexander. Interestingly enough, Angela Corey was the same Fla. State’s Attorney that prosecuted George Zimmerman.
Corey offered Alexander a three year prison sentence in exchange for her pleading guilty to the charge of aggravated assault.
Believing she hadn’t done anything wrong though, Alexander rejected that plea deal.
Her bet did not pay off: the jury in the case returned a guilty verdict in less than 15 minutes.
Even though no one was hurt when Alexander fired those warning shots in her own self-defense, the mother of three young children was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 20 years.”
Alexander’s 11-year-old daughter was present in court Friday for her mother’s sentencing. “I really was crying in there,” the daughter said.
“I didn’t want to cry in court, but I just really feel hurt. I don’t think this should have been happening.”
Lawyers for the defense in the Alexander case say that the Fla. mom “was clearly defending herself and should not have to spend the next two decades behind bars.”
Alexander’s case has drawn support from domestic abuse advocates – and comparison to the case of neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who has claimed self- defense in his fatal shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
George Zimmerman was recently acquitted in the shooting murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, because, as The Washington Post stated, the jury “apparently concluded he was in fear for his life.”
The “Stand Your Ground” law states that crime victims can immediately retaliate in their own self-defense and do not have to flee for safety.
Marissa Alexander’s online petition seeking a pardon from Fla. Governor Rick Scott is very close to its targeted goal of 60,000 signatures.
For more on the Marissa Alexander story, see the video accompanying this article. (Article updated July 16)
Court upholds prior ruling that firing ‘attractive’ assistant is legal (Video)
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