Good News: Marissa Alexander Will Get a New Trial

[Content Note: Domestic violence; guns; racism.]

Marissa Alexander, a black woman from Florida (the same state in which George Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin, under the same prosecutor) who was convicted and sentenced to 20 years for firing a warning shot into the ceiling when her abusive husband was trying to harm her, will get a new trial:
"We reject her contention that the trial court erred in declining to grant her immunity from prosecution under Florida's Stand Your Ground law," wrote Judge James H. Daniel, "but we remand for a new trial because the jury instructions on self-defense were erroneous."

...The jury [who took 12 minutes to convict Alexander] rejected her self-defense argument, and instead Alexander was sentenced under the "10-20-Life" law, which carries a series of mandatory minimum sentences related to gun crimes.

...The appeals court judge ruled that the lower court judge improperly put a burden on Alexander to prove that the firing was in self-defense. "The defendant's burden is only to raise a reasonable doubt concerning self-defense," Daniel wrote. "The defendant does not have the burden to prove the victim guilty of the aggression defended against beyond a reasonable doubt." He ordered a retrial. A separate proceeding would determine whether Alexander could be released on bail pending that trial.
So, the good news is that Alexander will get a new trial. The bad news is that there is a possibility she will be wrongly (in my view) convicted once again.

What we can do to support her is keep the pressure on, keep her name in the news, keep saying over and over that, if there is to be a Stand Your Ground law in Florida, Marissa Alexander should have the right to invoke it just as much as anyone else.

And, the truth is, she shouldn't even have to invoke that shitty law. She is allowed to defend herself with a warning shot in her own home against someone threatening to kill her. I don't even know why this is in question.

Well. I do know. Racism and misogyny. But it shouldn't be.

[H/T to Alison.]

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus