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Racism & Juries: Marissa Alexander Gets New Trial in Florida

Marissa Alexander gets new trial in Florida. [Photo from court appearance.]

Marissa Alexander gets new trial in Florida.
[Photo from court appearance.]

AFTER THE disastrous verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, the conviction of Marissa Alexander seemed even more egregious. She’s getting a new trial, though whether the outcome will be any different is really the thing that matters.

From NBC:

Marissa Alexander, the African-American woman who was sentenced to 20 years for discharging a firearm in Florida despite pleading Stand Your Ground against her husband, will get a new trial. Alexander, 32, said she fired a bullet at the ceiling because she was afraid of her husband. No one was injured. It took 12 minutes for the jury to convict her. [...]

Alexander… 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.”

The jury 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.

George Zimmerman kills an unarmed African American teen, gets off.

Marissa Alexander, a person of color, kills no one, while touching off a round to scare her husband who threatened “Bitch, I’ll you,” but gets 20 years.

Violence against women in Florida is obviously all in Ms. Alexander’s mind, as is the racism that is evident in juries who convict people like Marissa Alexander, who had never been arrested before, but let George Zimmerman off, even after a history of events that brought into question his volatility.

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7 Responses to Racism & Juries: Marissa Alexander Gets New Trial in Florida

  1. fangio September 26, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    Recently , while Obama was attending an event in Florida , he was being heckled by a large group of protesters , some of whom were shouting, ” Go back to Kenya. ” It’s never a good idea to paint with a broad brush but you really have to wonder about places like Florida.

    • casualobserver September 26, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

      No worries……we won’t take it badly if you decide never to visit.

      By the way, what ever happened to the “Boycott Florida” movement? The place is still lousy with tourists (many of them non-Caucasian too) and it is not even close to being tourist season yet.

      And I have no idea what the OP is attempting to argue, however, the appellate decision was a good one. There was an incorrect recital of the agg batt statute in the instructions.

      • Taylor Marsh September 26, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

        I didn’t even know there was a serious “Boycott Florida” movement, though I did hear of an astroturf version that was funneled into the media & sucked up by the right.

        As for the legal eagle stuff, I’m just glad someone takes aggravated battery seriously.

        Frankly, in Florida, she’d likely have fared better if she’d shot the bastard.

        • Sandmann September 26, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

          “Frankly, in Florida, she’d likely have fared better if she’d shot the bastard.”

          There’s the rub, right? Better shoot to kill and leave no witness even though the situation may not necessitate a loss of life.

          • lynnette September 27, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

            Exactly. If anyone ever qualified under stand your ground it was she. This woman should never have been convicted in the first place. The 20 year sentence for using a firearm made it so much worse.

  2. newdealdem1 September 26, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    This is excellent news for this woman. This case was the epitome of injustice and the miscarriage of justice. Thanks to the appellate judge who saw the incompetence of the lower court judge by improperly imposing undue burden on Marissa Alexander to prove that the firing was in self-defense.

    Open Quote: George Zimmerman kills an unarmed African American teen, gets off.

    Marissa Alexander, a person of color, kills no one, while touching off a round to scare her husband who threatened “Bitch, I’ll you,” but gets 20 years. Close Quote Taylor

    Absolutely and well said.

    And, the jury took 12 minutes to convict her when no one was harmed and the judge sentenced her to 20 years because of the “10-20 Life” law? That law clearly needs to be changed/amended just as the insane “Stand your ground” law needs to be abolished.

    One other ironic fact: the Florida State Attorney who prosecuted Marissa Alexander also prosecuted the Zimmerman case, Angela Corey.

    In fact, in both cases, Corey was criticized for overcharging the defendants.

    And, this from Wiki:

    Open Quote: Corey has been criticized for her handling of the case by Florida Congresswoman, Corrine Brown, who argued that Corey overcharged Alexander and the result of Alexander’s case was a consequence of institutional racism. Close Quote

    You bet it was.

    Ms. Alexander should be released on bail pending the new trial. She didn’t commit a crime and should be found not guilty. Also, I think Florida should pay her some restitution for her conviction.

  3. newdealdem1 September 26, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    Taylor or Joyce,

    I have a comment in the “No One Supports the Tea Party Anymore” thread with a couple of links which (as you know) puts the comment into moderation. Would you please clear it?

    Thanks. :)

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