FLORIDA – A woman of two gets another shot at freedom after the Florida appeals court reviewed her case and found error in the case judge’s instruction to the jury.
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Marissa Alexander (33) was given 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband during an August 2010 argument. She said that she headed to the garage, but couldn’t leave because the garage door was stuck. She returned with the gun and fired the warning shot.
At the time Gray was in the room with his two sons.
The Court of Appeal stated that the judge was right to throw out Alexander’s usage of the “Stand Your Ground” law. However, Judge James H. Daniel ruled that the court “we remand for a new trial because the jury instructions on self-defense were erroneous.”
Alexander’s pro bono lawyer, Michael Dowd of New York said “I’m absolutely ecstatic.” Dowd has a history of defending domestic violence victims since the 1970s. Alexander’s team ran with the “Stand Your Ground” defend at trial as given the record of events and Gray’s history of abusing women, her claim to defense seemed valid.
State Attorney Angela Corey argued that “Stand Your Ground” wasn’t valid here because Alexander apparently acted in anger. The case judge agreed and pointed to Alexander returning to the house as indicative that she wasn’t in fear of her life.
With the Trayvon Martin case/George Zimmerman trial—in which a neighborhood watch volunteer shot and killed an unarmed teen—“Stand Your Ground” came under fire for a variety of reasons: vagueness of the law, the nature of believing one is in danger or that someone is a threat, and so on.
This also gave weight to what has been seen as a need for stricter gun regulation and put a light on law enforcement who waiting before charging Zimmerman.
State Attorney Angela Corey took on the Zimmerman case.
Prior to her trial, Marissa Alexander had never been arrested. The presiding judge gave her three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon which weighed into her mandatory 20 years.
A separate trial is scheduled to decide if Alexander should be allowed out on bail.