As if we needed more proof that the ALEC supported ‘Stand Your Ground’ legislation was biased against marginalized communities, Florida resident Marissa Alexander, convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with no intent to harm, faces a mandatory 20 years in prison when her sentencing hearing begins this Friday.
The charges stem from a 2010 incident in which Alexander fired a single warning shot into the ceiling of her Jacksonville, Florida house after getting into a fight with her husband. Alexander described the events that lead up to the incident:
In an unprovoked jealous rage, my husband violently confronted me while using the restroom. He assaulted me, shoving, strangling and holding me against my will, preventing me from fleeing all while I begged for him to leave.
Marissa’s husband, Rico Gray, had been arrested in twice for domestic battery, in 2006 and 2009, and had a restraining order filed against him by Alexander in 2009 (parts of which were later lifted). In a 2010 deposition, Gray told litigators that:
I got five baby mamas and I put my hand on every last one of them except one…the way I was with women, they was like they had to walk on eggshells around me. You know, they never knew what I was thinking… or what I might do… hit them, push them.
In the deposition, Gray also admits to abusing Marissa Alexander at least five times and that Alexander never pointed the gun at him after she was cornered. In her defense, Alexander’s attorney invoked the controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ law which has come under national scrutiny during the wake of the Trayvon Martin killing.
Lauren Victoria Burke writes at Politic365 on the legal system’s disparate treatment of Marissa Alexander and George Zimmerman:
The Florida law states that a person has no duty to retreat when confronted…it is interesting to consider that George Zimmerman shot and killed someone and was released by police and Marissa Alexander shot no one and could face a lengthy prison sentence.
Interesting indeed. It seems that if anybody is justified in standing their ground, it would the victims of repeated domestic abuse. What message does the state of Florida give to the rest of the country when Marissa Alexander is facing a 20 year prison sentence for an incident in which nobody was harmed, while George Zimmerman is out on bail?