Update: Marissa Alexander denied new hearing, still faces 60 years in prison
A Florida judge has denied Marissa Alexander a new self-defense hearing after finding that the recent addition of a “warning shot” provision to the state’s Stand Your Ground law could not be applied retroactively.
The law allows someone to fire without retreat if they have a “reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself.”
Alexander, a survivor of domestic violence who says she fired a warning shot at a wall to fend off her abusive husband Rico Gray after he threatened to kill her, was denied immunity in her first hearing. She was later convicted of aggravated assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison, but the conviction was overturned on appeal.
As Irin Carmon at MSNBC points out, Alexander’s lawyers argued that evidence not previously introduced — one of Gray’s children recanted his testimony, expert testimony on ‘battered women’s syndrome” and Gray’s history of domestic violence and lying to law enforcement — warranted a second hearing. But Circuit Judge James Daniel wrote that the evidence did not merit a new hearing because “the basic outlines of her claim and [Gray’s] claim have not changed at all.”
The case will now be left to a jury to decide if Alexander had a “reasonable fear of imminent peril” when Gray broke through the bathroom door where she was hiding. He grabbed her neck, choked her and shoved her to the floor during the domestic violence incident.
After discovering that she was trapped in the garage, Alexander returned to the home having retrieved a gun and fired at a wall near Gray. No one was harmed.
We must continue to demand justice for not just Marissa Alexander, but all people of color who are repeatedly let down by the justice system.
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