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Marissa Alexander Case: Blame "10-20-Life" More Than "Stand Your Ground"

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"Stand Your Ground" may be a problematic law that may actually increase the homicide rate in states that have enacted it, but is it in and of itself a racist law? Activists and journalists calling renewed attention to the case of Marissa Alexander, a Florida woman who unsuccessfully tried to use a "Stand Your Ground" defense after she claimed she fired a warning shot at her abusive husband, seem to think so.

But Alexander's fate actually illustrates the occasional absurdity of Florida's unique "10-20-Life" law more than it illustrates racism at play in the application of "Stand Your Ground."

The parallels between the George Zimmerman case and the Alexander case are pretty much limited to this: Both happened in Florida, both claimed self-defense, and both had charges levied against them by prosecutor Angela Corey.

Alexander attempted to have her charges thrown out before the trial, citing the "Stand Your Ground" law, something Zimmerman's attorneys opted to ultimately forgo.

As CNN points out, the details of the Alexander case are tricky.

Alexander and her husband, Rico Gray, have three children, one of whom was a newborn and still in the hospital at the time of the 2010 incident. The two had not been living together for two months, but while Alexander was in Gray's home, the two got into an argument about the paternity of the newborn.

Gray has an extensive history of domestic-abuse charges and the previous year had sent Alexander to the hospital with a head injury after shoving her into a bathtub. On that morning, Gray tried to keep Alexander in the bathroom, but she eventually escaped. She could have left the house at that point but instead went to her car and retrieved her licensed and registered handgun and returned to the house.

While Gray was standing in a room with the couple's other two children, Alexander fired a shot that just missed Gray's head.

Alexander claimed that Gray had threatened to kill her that morning and she had fired the shot as a warning.


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12 comments
d_lachelle_thomas
d_lachelle_thomas

First off... I apologize up front for this long message. 2.) I have not read but a few comments below so this is not directed towards anyone... BUT we need to realize that yes many laws by history alone has been constructed to keep blacks (particularly) in prison and although it (laws) have come a long way ... the people that enforce, interrupt, and makes laws has not. 3.) Its not okay for anyone especially the media to think it is right that Zimmerman murdered that young man. AND it is further not okay for anyone to think that this case has nothing to do with the racial inequalities that linger in our judicial society. Furthermore I am tired of Blacks and Whites and Anyone else that won't stand up in front of a camera and say just that!!! Yes these cases (Alexander/Zimmerman) are different in some ways, but alike in many... both have to deal with self defense (so Zimmerman says- although it really was Martin that was defending himself), Zimmerman said he was being beat to death (really?) while Alexander was being beaten by a habitual violent partner, she got a way and when she thought he was coming into the garage she fired a warning shot... Zimmerman shot point blank. Now PAY ATTENTION TO THIS ----> under the 10, 20, life law by FL's Statutes Alexander should have been found NOT guilty since she was not carrying a weapon or fired a weapon in a forcible felony and was never convicted of a previous crime, nor had a record and she did have the right to stand her ground due to the fact she was at her home; she was being harmed, and she felt threatened... so she fired a warning shot and it worked! He left and no one was hurt. ZIMMERMAN on the other hand GET THIS---> He should have been found guilty, but the prosecutor's were horrible at there jobs, and the jury could care less about a dead black kid because by the defenses case he deserved to be profiled because of what he was wearing and the color of his skin in that neighborhood during that time... but Zimmerman wasn't. THIS IS WHY HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN GUILTY UNDER stand your ground (yes I know he didn't use this in the end): Guilty because one he was not near (close to) his home/dwelling, two he went after Martin when dispatch said not too, three he approached Martin after Martin had noticed he was being followed by some stranger, therefore if anyone had the right to stand his ground it would have been Martin. Martin had the right to defend himself because he at that time felt threatened or thought this man was going to hurt him... don't we tell kids to fight off an attacker? If Zimmerman was being beat by Martin (good) he was using his hands not a weapon... we could only pray that he (Z) should have had the same forethought as Alexander did and  he could have fired a warning shot instead of a fatal blow to the chest... BUT he didn't think and it wasn't self defense (we will forever know the truth). NOW that he is free however; he should be brought up on charges under this same law Alexander supposedly broke. Because he undeniably did  break this one. Zimmermans actions 1.) did commit a forcible felony by (2) following Martin he committed aggravated stalking and (3)he did carried/discharge a weapon... he shoot Martin. Even if it was deemed "self defense", Under the aggravated stalking and carrying a firearm alone, he should be charged and get 10 years in prison... No that's not enough, but the law is the law Alexander got 20 and didn't even kill anyone. For those that think I didn't do my research here it is (Have Fun) The below clears Alexander but convicts Zimmerman... where's the justice in that? :

The 10-20-Life law (Florida Statute 775.087) is a mandatory minimum sentencing law in the U.S. state of Florida. It primarily regards the use of a firearm during the commission of a forcible felony.[1] The law went into effect on July 1, 1999, amending section 775.087 of the Florida Statutes.[5] In 2000, the Legislature extended the mandatory sentences to cover 16 and 17-year olds who fire a gun (during a violent crime), and those offenders with prior criminal records.[2][6]The law's name comes from three main mandatory sentences: 1) producing a firearm during the commission of certain felonies mandates at least a 10-year prison sentence; 2) firing one mandates at least a 20-year prison sentence; and 3) shooting someone mandates a minimum sentence of 25 years to life regardless of whether a victim is killed or simply injured The maximum penalty is a life sentence unless the defendant is charged with felony murder or first degree murder in which case the maximum is the death penalty.

So what is Forcible felony you say = 776.08Forcible felony.—“Forcible felony” means treason; murder; manslaughter; sexual battery; carjacking; home-invasion robbery; robbery; burglary; arson; kidnapping; aggravated assault; aggravated battery; aggravated stalking; aircraft piracy; unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb; and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.

So what is Aggravated stalking you say = (2) "Credible threat", a threat communicated with the intent to cause the person who is the target of the threat to reasonably fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her family, or household members or domestic animals or livestock as defined in section 276.606 kept at such person's residence or on such person's property. The threat must be against the life of, or a threat to cause physical injury to, or the kidnapping of, the person, the person's family, or the person's household members or domestic animals or livestock as defined in section 276.606 kept at such person's residence or on such person's property;

(3) "Harasses", to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that serves no legitimate purpose, that would cause a reasonable person under the circumstances to be frightened, intimidated, or emotionally distressed.

2. A person commits the crime of stalking if he or she purposely, through his or her course of conduct, harasses or follows with the intent of harassing another person.

3. A person commits the crime of aggravated stalking if he or she purposely, through his or her course of conduct, harasses or follows with the intent of harassing another person

UMMMM anyone see the justice?

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

You can personally write to Marissa in prison at this address: Marissa Alexander #2012033887 500 East Adam St. Jacksonville, FL 32202 If you include some First Class stamps, or even an address and stamped return envelope, it will be easier for her to reply.”

SEEYA
SEEYA

"...citing the "Stand Your Ground" law, something Zimmerman's attorneys opted to ultimately forgo."

Can somebody please explain that to that moron Stevie Wonder.

@Omar Ghaffar = good info.

David Detweiler
David Detweiler

the whole argument against warning shots etc and this type of sentence is crazy. If she didn't kill or injure a bystander during a warning shot, she should be commended. This is part of SYG that sucks. Otherwise, it is good.

Tony Miller
Tony Miller

The 10-20-life law puts you into a position where if you draw and fire you better keep shooting until the threat is dead and so is their side of the story. Then SYG is a viable defense. Statistically if you're black you have a 55% chance of SYG working in your favor. So, if she hasn't missed we wouldn't be discussing her.

Omar Ghaffar
Omar Ghaffar

I guess I should have said - yes and no.

Omar Ghaffar
Omar Ghaffar

No. As a criminal defense lawyer I can tell you they are not factually comparable unless you want to sensationalize matters. Btw how is that brown paper bag fitting? What I can say is that both cases are a function of overzealous prosecutors who could have used much better discretion in charging. In Martin, the grand jury was originally disbanded after a showing of insufficient evidence. In order to appease the public politically once the mass media caught wind of the story, the feds pressured the state to appoint a special prosecutor who is now alleged to have committed gross acts of misconduct in withholding evidence about the victim. That's not ok. In Alexander you also have a case that never should have been charged in such a fashion so as to handcuff the judge into applying the 10 20 life enhancement. As a public defender I had a similar case that was in fact charged as misdemeanor reckless endangerment that I won at trial, but the evidence was much more circumstantial. Its not the laws that are the problem, but the prosecutors themselves that are way overboard. As members of the public we need to think twice about who we elect as state attorneys in each county. Please don't distort these truths, New Times.

HarryTheHandyman
HarryTheHandyman topcommenter

"licensed and registered handgun"

I really wish the media and clueless individuals would stop spreading this lie.  There is no firearm registration or licensing in Florida.

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter



Marissa Alexander get 20 years for warning shot scare off her husband when she felt he was threatening her and zimmerman gets off for killing shooting Trayvon martin welcome to florida. This particular case am convinced that corruption and power permeate American society. Zimmerman will fall again since the evidence that he is a criminal and has a disturbed mind and his daddy won't be able to protect him next time ...

unbelievable and by that I mean believable.”

FLORIDA IS A FUCK UP STATE

HarryTheHandyman
HarryTheHandyman topcommenter

@David DetweilerAre you seriously advocating FOR warning shots?  This is extremely irresponsible.  If you have to fire a WARNING shot, then you aren't in a life or death situation.  The only warning a perp should get is the sight of your firearm before you pull the trigger.

Also, go back and read about her case.  She left the scene to get her gun and then returned.  No SYG there.

HarryTheHandyman
HarryTheHandyman topcommenter

@drakemallardShe fired a "warning" shot after leaving the scene of the altercation, retrieved her handgun, then went BACK.  If you don't see a problem with that, well, good luck in life.

Go back  to your drugs.

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