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Urge Florida Officials to Drop the Case Against Marissa Alexander

December 10, 2013


[On September 26], a Florida Appeals Court overturned the guilty verdict against Marissa Alexander! The appeals court found extreme errors—the instructions to the jury said Marissa had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she acted in self-defense. This is the exact opposite of the legal principle that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty by the prosecution.

Free Marissa Now has launched a national campaign to get Florida to drop the case, dismiss all charges and release Marissa now.

What happens next: From now until October 11, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi could ask the Appeals Court to change its decision. This is called a rehearing. If Bondi does not request a rehearing, the case will be returned to Jacksonville. Beginning on October 11, the ball is in State Prosecutor Angela Corey’s court to move forward on the case or to drop it. This is the crucial period to get the case dismissed and flood Florida with messages to drop the case. [Editor’s

Note: An update on Marissa’s legal proceedings was not available at the time this issue went to press.]

Marissa Alexander is a mother of three children (twins plus one) and is presently incarcerated in Jacksonville, Florida, which is located in Duval county. Marissa was convicted by a jury of six on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with no intent to harm. Marissa Alexander did not have a criminal record before this incident. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison due to mandatory minimum sentencing laws.

Marissa’s husband has a documented history of violence and domestic abuse toward women. The history of Marissa Alexander and her husband includes an injunction for protection against violence and was active during August 2010. In a rage, Marissa’s husband violently confronted her while she used the bathroom. She was assaulted, shoved, strangled and held against her will. She was prevented from escaping and was not able to obtain her cell phone to call 911.
Her husband was asked to leave repeatedly. He and his two sons (Marissa’s stepsons) were supposed to have exited through the front door but did not. Her husband entered the kitchen, which leads to the garage, and saw that Marissa was unable to leave via the malfunctioning garage door. Her husband yelled, “Bitch, I will kill you!” and charged toward her. Marissa retrieved her licensed and registered gun—which she owned for years before even meeting her husband—from her vehicle. She held the weapon in her right hand down by her side as he charged toward her. In fear and desperation, Marissa Alexander lifted her weapon, turned away and discharged a single shot in the ceiling. That single shot prevented him from doing that which he had threatened. He ran out of the house, contacted the police, and falsely reported that Marissa Alexander shot at him and his two sons. The police took Marissa Alexander into custody.

The state of Florida has a self-defense law which includes the right to Stand Your Ground.

Marissa Alexander did not receive immunity under this law. Alexander’s husband admitted that he was the aggressor, threatened her life and was so enraged that he did not know what he would do. This was his sworn statement in November 2010. Alexander’s husband was arrested for domestic violence twice—once for abuse against Alexander. That attack landed Alexander in the hospital.

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