31-year-old Marissa Alexander was cornered by her abusive husband when she fired a warning shot into the ceiling of their home, using a gun she was licensed to carry. The August, 2010 incident led to the Jacksonville, Florida resident’s conviction of three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to newspaper The Florida Times-Union.
Her defense attorney, Kevin Cobbin has filed numerous motions for a retrial on grounds that her case is within the bounds of instances covered under the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, but Florida Circuit Court Judge James Daniel on Thursday denied them all. Critics of the judge’s ruling, including the local NAACP, charge that Alexander’s race has been a factor in her sentencing and denial of a retrial.
Alexander claims she was acting in self-defense, that her husband, Rico Gray, attacked her when he found messages to her ex-husband on her cell phone. Gray has said in testimony that he had previously warned Alexander that he would kill her if he ever found out that she had been unfaithful. In her panic, she ran to the garage, hoping to escape. Once there, she found that she did not have her keys and that the garage door was broken.
“I knew I had to protect myself,” she told CNN in an interview from behind bars, “I believe when he threatened to kill me, that’s what he was absolutely going to do.”
Feeling that there was no other route of escape, Alexander armed herself and re-entered the house. Gray confronted her, threatening to kill her once again. The mother of three turned her face away and fired a warning shot into the ceiling in hopes that Gray would back down, which he did, taking his children from a previous relationship and fleeing the house.
No one was hurt, but now Alexander is facing a mandatory 20-year sentence with no chance of parole. She turned down earlier plea deals that would have offered her three years in jail, maintaining that she only fired the gun in self-defense.
Defense attorney Cobbin has cited Gray’s previous arrests for domestic violence and insists that his client’s actions were legal under “Stand Your Ground.” Both Circuit Court Judge Daniel and Circuit Judge Elizabeth Senterfitt, however, have ruled against Alexander.
Jacksonville NAACP head Isaiah Rumlin told the Times-Union that the evidence speaks to a miscarriage of justice, “After looking into it and studying the case, this is a clear case of Stand Your Ground as it relates to what she had to do on the date that she did it.”
The group sent a letter to Judge Daniel asking him to postpone his ruling and suggesting that Alexander’s race, gender and economic status were factors in the court’s handling of the case.
Daniel was unmoved. “Maybe I would be agreeing to a new Stand Your Ground motion, which highlights some of the difficulties we are struggling with procedurally implementing this new law,”he wrote, “but ultimately the motion is denied.” In his opinion, Alexander’s decision to re-enter the house was “inconsistent with a person in genuine fear of his or her life.”
“Stand Your Ground” was invoked by one of the defense teams that have represented George Zimmerman, Jr., the volunteer neighborhood watch captain who shot unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in the chest, killing him, earlier this year.
The blog Wonkette reacted to Judge Daniel’s ruling by saying, “In Florida, as it turns out, being in ‘genuine fear of your life’ means that you’re white and your attacker is black, so clearly that was her first mistake. Also, if you really want to Stand Your Ground you have to call the police only to ignore their instructions anyway, so there’s that. And crucially, it doesn’t say anywhere if her husband was wearing a hoodie when he was threatening to beat her up, which we hear is a relevant aspect of whether or not black men are actually scary.”
Marissa Alexander’s sentencing is scheduled for May 11.
…which are pro-life, Christian based organizations masquerading as medical facilities and use their money and time to push a pro-life, anti-abortion agenda, regardless of the health or desires of the pregnant person.
My head executive director just got this news, and the whole…
The person (I believe nin is their preferred pronoun, if you wanna chat) who reblogged this gave some EXCELLENT links about “Pregnancy Crisis Centers”, and I highly recommend looking ‘em up.
FLORIDA GOV. RICK SCOTT VETOES FUNDS FOR RAPE CRISIS CENTERS DURING SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) shocked the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence this week when he vetoed $1.5 million in funding for 30 rape crisis centers in the middle of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. State lawmakers allotted the money to offset an increase in need and a lack of sufficient funding for victim services.
A spokesperson for Scott said he vetoed that particular line item in the state budget because the state already funds sexual violence programs, and nobody was able to make it clear to him why rape crisis centers needed the new funding.
“Governor Scott approved funding for many projects that have statewide impact and do not duplicate programs already funded by the state,” Lane Wright, Scott’s press secretary, told HuffPost. “This new funding of $1.5 million would have been duplicative, since, as a state, we already fund sexual violence programs. There was no information suggesting any needs in this area weren’t already being met. The state already provides about $6.5 million for rape prevention and sexual assault services. That is in addition to the funds available for domestic violence programs — $29 million to be specific. Many victims of sexual violence seek refuge at domestic violence shelters.”
Jennifer Dritt, the executive director of the Florida Council, said she was “stunned” and “confused” by Scott’s move and that she questions his reasoning for slashing the funds.
“We say ‘here’s the need, here’s the need, here’s the need,’ and frankly, nobody’s paying any attention,” she told HuffPost. “We gave them information about the number of new survivors we have and we showed them that these rape crisis centers have waiting lists. Survivors are having to wait weeks, sometimes six weeks, in some programs three months to be seen. We included quotes from the programs about the waiting lists and what services they weren’t able to offer because of a lack of money. There is clearly an unmet need.”
As for the $6.5 million that Scott said the government provides for rape prevention and sexual assault services, a large percentage of that money is distributed to education programs, not actual crisis centers serving the victims.
“He’s probably including rape prevention and education money,” she said. “You think they would have asked us about that, and we could explain to them very clearly what money is available for our programs. It looks like $1.5 million is a lot of money to ask for, but frankly, when you spread it across 67 counties, it’s not.”
From a political standpoint, Scott’s cuts to sexual violence funding could not have come at a worse time, as Republicans in Congress are taking heat for opposing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. But Scott’s spokesman said the governor’s decision had nothing to do with the oft-cited GOP “war on women.”
“Anyone who’s trying to say this veto is evidence of a war on women, is deliberately trying to mislead the public for political ends,” Wright said.
Every time I see things like this, I’m reminded why I hate living in Florida.
One of my fellow advocates may have to take a hit to her hours because of this.
I called his office and left a particularly scathing message, but the odds of that ever making it past the secretary are low.
In 1956-1957, the United States government secretly released millions of mosquitoes in the town of Avon Park, Florida. Army biological warfare agents were testing to see what types of diseases the townspeople would contract as a result of these mosquitoes; they were attempting to see what would happen if they purposely infected mosquitoes with various diseases, and how they could use this to their advantage in times of war. Hundreds of people contracted typhoid, fevers, encephalitis, respiratory problems, and women suffered stillbirths. The bio-warfare agents posed as public health workers so that they could photograph and evaluate the results of their experiments. Several people died before anyone even knew that they were being used as government guinea pigs.
The states of Alabama, Florida, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas all plan to commit murder between now and next November.
We’re too late to save the life of Derrick Mason, who was killed by the State of Alabama not long ago. While there is little doubt about his guilt in the 1994 shooting of Angela Cagle—he apologized to her family for his crime—we cannot call ourselves a free society when the government reserves the right to commit premeditated murder upon its own citizens.
Please contact the governors’ offices of the above states and tell them that this is not acceptable. If your finances allow, please consider donating to one of the many organizations that work to end capital punishment. We cannot allow this injustice to continue.
Rest In Peace, Derrick O’Neal Mason - 9 August 1974 to 22 September 2011
Mr. Valle is a Cuban citizen accused of killing a police officer. He has been on death row for 33 years. His attorneys argue that his clemency process has been unfair, and the method of execution planned may be inhumane.
The media usually refers to him as a ‘cop killer.’
You can contact Governor Rick Scott to request clemency in his case.
The contact form is apparently for Florida residents only. A number is provided though my phone isn’t working right at the moment so I will have to call later. Capital punishment has no place in the year 2011.