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July 07, 2013

The Curious Case of Marissa Alexander - [Niedermeyer's Dead Horse]

With the George Zimmerman trial in full swing, my mind wanders to another self-defense case: The case of Marissa Alexander, sentenced to 20 years in prison for Aggravated Assault.

Now, this case is not as neat and clean as is Zimmerman's but that makes it an even more interesting case.

On August 10, 2010, Marissa Alexander claims to have fired a warning shot to protect herself from her husband, Rico Gray. Her husband claimed at first that she fired into the air then changed his story to say that she fired at him. The hanging factor came down to the fact that she left the room where he was, went to the garage and retrieved her gun from the car, then returned to the room to fire the shot. The state argued that when she left the room, she could have fled, and thus was not eligible for immunity under the state's Stand Your Ground defense.

Oh, but why did she return? First, her children were in the room with her husband and, second, Gray himself claims the garage door was locked.

Again, this case is by no means perfect.

Alexander violated her bail by returning to the home a few months after firing the shot. Many will question why a woman who had been previously abused by her husband, who had fired a shot in fear, would return to the scene.

Angela Corey charged Alexander with Aggravated Assault and offered a plea deal of 3 years. Alexander refused to take the deal as she argued she had done nothing wrong. The case went to a jury where she was found guilty and sentenced, under Florida's mandatory sentencing guidelines, to 20 years.

Something about the case feels, off.

Does someone who fires a warning shot in protection of her children and herself deserve 20 years in prison? What if that person had violated bail? What if that person had left the room then returned to fire the shot?

Was Alexander, as Corey is want to do, overcharged in the instance or, perhaps, this case says something about mandatory sentencing. Or.... is the sentence just right?

I'm curious about your take.

Read here a 2012 article on the subject and let me know your thoughts.

It should be an interesting discussion.

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posted by Open Blogger at 05:32 PM

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