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As always in the Sunshine State, justice was served tonight. For another example:

Marissa Alexander had never been arrested before she fired a bullet at a wall one day in 2010 to scare off her husband when she felt he was threatening her. Nobody got hurt, but this month a northeast Florida judge was bound by state law to sentence her to 20 years in prison.

Alexander, a 31-year-old mother of a toddler and 11-year-old twins, knew it was coming. She had claimed self-defense, tried to invoke Florida’s “stand your ground” law and rejected plea deals that could have gotten her a much shorter sentence. A jury found her guilty as charged: aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Because she fired a gun while committing a felony, Florida’s mandatory-minimum gun law dictated the 20-year sentence.

Her case in Jacksonville has drawn a fresh round of criticism aimed at mandatory-minimum sentencing laws. The local NAACP chapter and the district’s African-American congresswoman say blacks more often are incarcerated for long periods because of overzealous prosecutors and judges bound by the wrong-headed statute. Alexander is black.

It also has added fuel to the controversy over Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which the judge would not allow Alexander to invoke. State Attorney Angela Corey, who also is overseeing the prosecution of shooter George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case, stands by the handling of Alexander’s case. Corey says she believes Alexander aimed the gun at the man and his two sons, and the bullet she fired could have ricocheted and hit any of them.

See. The real criminal is behind the bars. By which I mean the black person of course. Because they are always the criminals in Florida.

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  • MAJeff

    The real criminal is behind the bars. By which I mean the black person of course.

    Not only a black person, but an uppity black woman.

  • MattT

    The mandatory minimums are draconian. But I’ve never heard of a “warning shot” fired through a wall at head level, into an occupied room.

    • Vance Maverick

      Why does it matter what you’ve “heard of”?

      Trigger fingers are itchy all over this country. I find it entirely plausible that someone intending to warn an ex off would fire a shot, even when that was unwise. What I don’t see is how this was worse than Zimmerman/Martin.

    • The Wrath of Oliver Kahn

      But I’ve never heard of a “warning shot” fired through a wall at head level, into an occupied room.

      Doesn’t matter. “Stand your ground” – as stupid a law as it is – must apply equally to everyone. Alexander should not be in jail, period.

      • Decrease Mather

        She defied a restraining order to go into another person’s home. With a gun. How is that not jail time?

        • I find that part of the story weird–she has shared custody of a minor child with her ex and was delivering the child. Why wasn’t the court involved? Why wasn’t this done through an intermediary? 20 years still seems incredibly draconian.

    • delurking

      So her aim was bad — does that make it not a warning shot?

      And explain to me how this differs from Zimmerman, exactly — she took a gun into the house where she knows her ex will be because she feels threatened by him; he takes his gun chasing down a scary black kid because he feels threatened by the kid.

      I mean, as far as I’m concerned, Alexander has far more reason to feel threatened than Zimmerman did, but other than that, I don’t see a difference.

    • Loud Liberal

      The mandatory minimums are one example of quid pro quo to the private prison industry in exchange for the payolla paid to republican, and even some democratic, campaigns. Three strikes and you’re out would be another example.

  • You can’t be too careful with the blahs.

    When they’re dead, that’s a plus.

    When they’re starting to invoke defenses meant to keep white people safe, well that’s an obamanation.

    The whole situation is just sad.

    • slightly_peeved

      well that’s an obamanation.

      What you did there – I saw it.

  • Anonymous

    Florida: Global Warming’s Silver Lining.

    • The Wrath of Oliver Kahn

      Could we please stop with the whole condemning all 18 million people who live here for the actions of this jury? Everyone I know here (with the exception of my in-laws) is outraged by this verdict.

      • DocAmazing

        That outrage needs to be expressed at election time. Otherwise it looks like the whole state goes along.

        • Manju

          Palm Beach county is a Pat Buchanan stronghold and that’s why Pat Buchanan received 3,407 votes there.

        • Nathan Bedford Forrest

          I was excited when the country ratified torture and war crimes by re-electing the guy who did those things. We’re all invading torturers now.

    • Loud Liberal

      I’m a Florida homeowner. About 3 miles from the coast. I’m on high ground – 17 feet.

  • Royko

    How does the saying go? Guns don’t kill people, people do? Funny how that works out.

    I understand why he was aquitted, but when you shoot an unarmed man that you antagonized, you deserve some degree of culpability. Maybe not murder, but there should be an offense for “extreme stupidity with a firearm.”

    • Gone2Ground

      The prisons are already filled. We can’t possibly put everyone there who acts dumb with a gun. We’d run out of room next week.

    • Karen

      Aggravated assault at least.

      I have to say, though, that I really hate these cable news trials. The prosecutor was hampered by the hideous stand-your- ground law and made a spectacular mistake in how she prepped and presented Rachel Jeantel. Still, shooting an unarmed person ought to carry an actual penalty.

    • cpinva

      “Guns don’t kill people, people do?”

      let me fix this for you”

      “Guns don’t kill people, stupid people with guns kill people.”

  • Gone2Ground

    I find it interesting that the entire gun angle has been completely ignored by the media and everyone else. The racial angle is completely obvious, and I’m not discounting that as clearly a factor, but the fact remains that if Zimmerman hadn’t had a gun that night, his dumb ass wouldn’t have killed that young man. The fact that he was armed and dangerous, even after his own run-ins with the law, seems almost even more outrageous than the sad fact that yet another young black man was killed violently and for no good reason.

    While working outside today, I thought for a brief moment that the NRA was somehow behind the focus on the racial aspects, just so nobody would be questioning the gun angle. I wouldn’t put it past them. They’ve already shown how disgusting they can be.

    • Josh G.

      If Zimmerman had stayed in his damn car, none of this would have ever happened.

  • calling all toasters

    We need racist attorney Drew M. Nieropont to come by and explain how this is another example of blacks getting all the breaks.

    • He has already been by, in the thread below.

      • calling all toasters

        Yes, but there he only explained how Zimmerman is the real victim. We need him to explain how going to jail for not shooting someone is getting off easy compared to being found not guilty.

        • calling all toasters

          “found not guilty” after killing someone, that is.

  • Josh G.

    It also has added fuel to the controversy over Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which the judge would not allow Alexander to invoke

    Isn’t “stand your ground” a factual claim for the jury to decide? How can the judge legally prevent the defense attorneys from raising a defense at trial that is explicitly permitted by state law?

    • How many reasons do you need?

      Black.
      Woman.

      Stand your ground is only invokable by white men being attacked by black people.

      It says so right in the Bible.

      • Loud Liberal

        Oy!

    • cpinva

      “Isn’t “stand your ground” a factual claim for the jury to decide? How can the judge legally prevent the defense attorneys from raising a defense at trial that is explicitly permitted by state law?”

      as I understand it, in FL, you have two options:

      1. request a separate SYG hearing, before a judge, to assert the claim. if successful, there is no trial at all.

      2. don’t request the separate hearing, go to trial, and assert a “self-defense” claim, which the state is then obligated to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, doesn’t exist.

      option #2 is what Zimmerman’s atty. did, to the surprise of everyone. my guess was that this was because O’Mara didn’t believe it would fly with a judge only, because of the facts. an adverse opinion, in a separate SYG hearing, would have been grist for the prosecution. it’s a gamble that appears to have paid off, for mr. Zimmerman.

  • MikeN

    In that case,the woman went out to her car, got a gun,and went back into the house. Hard to see how she’s standing her ground.

    OTOH, it’s a very good argument against mandatory minimums,and for tighter gun control.

    • Bill Murray

      you haven’t followed SYG use much have you?

      • Royko

        If she’d made sure after returning to the house to get into a physical altercation with him and then shot him dead, she would have been fine.

    • Snuff curry

      The garage door was jammed, according to Alexander, and she couldn’t get out.

  • Winchy

    Loomis: “By which I mean the black person of course. Because they are always the criminals in Florida.”

    Race-baiters like Loomis and Sharpton and Jesse Jackson want to promote the idea of “whitey slays black man”. Even if Zimmerman is Hispanic.

    How many crimes of actual bias took place against white people by blacks as a direct and proximate consequence of this kind of race-baiting?

    • Andrew

      Fewer crimes than the stack of pancakes a hungry person can eat in one sitting.

    • calling all toasters

      Zimmerman’s dad is white. And a stone racist.

      But perhaps your point was that Zimmerman should be deported…?

    • The Wrath of Oliver Kahn

      Race-baiters like Loomis and Sharpton and Jesse Jackson want to promote the idea of “whitey slays black man”. Even if Zimmerman is Hispanic.

      Hispanic isn’t a race – it’s an ethnicity, which is why the Census Bureau classifies them as either “white Hispanic” or “black Hispanic.”

      Race-baiters like yourself should at least know a little more of what you’re talking about before trying to pass yourself off as not-racist.

      • Timb

        THIS

        The right wing has apparently forgotten that it was just a few decades ago when they didn’t consider Italians “white”

        • asp

          Actually, no one considers the Italians to be white we just don’t make a big deal of it in public anymore.

      • Lee Rudolph

        What the USA needs is fewer race baiters and more ethnicity baiters! Maybe “Winchy” could blaze an entrepreneurial trail or two, there.

        • Kathleen

          A marketing person would call it a “hate niche”.

    • Loud Liberal

      Hispanic is not a race, it’s a Spanish speaking person.

  • efgoldman

    I’m kind of all outraged out for the night. Can some front pager please pancake the new troll, now, please?

    • efgoldman

      And the old troll, too, while you’re at it.

  • Someone needs to go straight into the FYWP filter.

  • Does this matter?

    In August 2011, a judge rejected a motion by Alexander’s attorney to grant her immunity under the “stand your ground” law. According to the judge’s order, “there is insufficient evidence that the Defendant reasonably believed deadly force was needed to prevent death or great bodily harm to herself,” and that the fact that she came back into the home, instead of leaving out the front or back door “is inconsistent with a person who is in genuine fear for her life.”

    • I find this incredibly weird. Its like women and blacks are held to a higher standard of “fear for your life.” If you are in a relationship with a man who is much bigger than you, has children with four other women, who has been incredibly violent with you and all his other women, who has threatened you personally and who has also threatened to have his friends do his “dirty work” (his words) and physically harm you where is the place you are retreating to? Where is “safe?” Why is her home not her castle? Again: the guy who shot the teenage japanese kid did so from the safety of his home while the kid was outside. How does being inside your garage and not being able/wanting to flee your home (a temporary solution to an ongoing problem of violence in the relationship) make you the guilty party. Its as though the unspoken rules that apply to male conduct–you don’t have to retreat at all under SYG. In fact a white guy was found innocent of murder when he returned to his home, got his gun, and went back out to kill someone.

      • delurking

        Why are you confused, aimai? It’s like you don’t realize that women are men’s property, to be slapped around and murdered at will, or something.

        Jeez. Pay attention.

    • cpinva

      again, as I understand it, what differentiates SYG from standard self-defense, is that you’re under no obligation to attempt to flee. hence, the “Stand Your Ground” part of SYG.

  • Galle

    The biggest problem in this whole mess is that somehow, Zimmerman’s trial is national news, while travesties like Alexander’s are only worth bringing up in relation to Zimmerman’s. And it’s not really hard to see why.

    Zimmerman’s case was always one where the racists had the advantage. It was incredibly easy for them to paint Zimmerman as an innocent white man falsely accused by the evil forces of reverse racism and political correctness. It was incredibly easy for them to rally people to Zimmerman’s defense. Zimmerman’s case became national news precisely because Zimmerman was white.

    Can you imagine if it was Alexander’s trial the nation had been following, not Zimmerman’s? Sure, there’d still have been people trying to defend such a ridiculously unjust conviction. But unlike with Zimmerman, they’d have to paint themselves as the ones calling for someone’s suffering, and that’s a much harder position to sell.

    Or, in short, racism didn’t win on a tactical level, it won it on a strategic one. Zimmerman’s trial was the wrong battle to fight.

    • I guess I don’t think the media are the issue here. The prosecution is the issue here and that’s a local issue. Racism is national, tribalism is national, but so what? The media circus is just feeding the beast of people’s generic desire for titillation. The idea that we are in a whites vs blacks war goes back to the Civil War and before and there will always be people who line up on either side of that war and look for images and trials and public events to slake their hysteria.

      As for myself, I think theres a ton of racism at the base both of the police conduct and the prosecution and defense in this case. But its overdetermined that Zimmerman should get off since a lot of other things factor into the case as well: that he represented himself as a schnook overweight everyman and represented the kid as a proto-ubermonster? That Florida law partakes of old southern honor codes in the way it thinks about violence and specifically gun violence? That honor codes have never applied to youths and non whites so that only Zimmerman can be seen as “defending” himself by shooting his opponent in fisticuffs while Martin never could have been seen as merely “defending” himself had he shot a zimmerman who punched him? I think there are tons of interesting cultural tropes, among which mere race is only one. But its not the medias fault that the audience reads into this story what they want.

  • Robert

    http://thegrio.com/2012/05/15/angela-corey-lashes-out-at-critics-of-marissa-alexander-prosecution

    No, Marissa Alexander did not get 20 years for firing a “warning shot”. No, she was not unjustly denied Stand Your Ground status. No, she was not acting in self-defense. No, she was not someone with no criminal record; she was convicted in a domestic violence charge that post-dated the aggravated assault charges but which was adjudicated first. No, she was not treated harshly by the justice system; she was at first treated leniently, with a prosecutor who waived the statutory minimums to offer a soft plea bargain deal and considered probation before an out-on-bail Alexander violated a protective order to travel to the victim’s house and physically assault him again.

    • Yeah, that’s a very weird defense by Corey: I offered the bitch a ton of prosecutorial discretion even though I thought she was a dangerous lunatic and it would have been sexist for me to consider the fact that she was outweighed and trapped by her own violent boyfriend in her own house. Three years for firing a warning shot when she has a six month child and twin eleven year olds to care for? Truly a gun shot is not a gun shot in this country when men walk away from killing other people outright and a woman serves 20 years for firing a warning shot. I read the article and I didn’t find it convincing at all.

      • Robert

        There is absolutely zero reason to consider it a warning shot. It went through a wall, not through the ceiling, despite Alexander’s explicit claim that she shot up; the forensics call her a liar. Unless you think it is reasonable to fire a shot AT a group of one man and two children to warn them, that’s not a warning shot; that’s a miss.

        She wasn’t trapped in her house; that was another lie. She had left the house and was in the garage. She came back. Her arguing in the alternative (the garage door didn’t work AND I left my cell phone) was unconvincing and the forensics again showed that to be BS: the garage door worked fine. It isn’t self-defense to leave, arm yourself, and return. She had left; she was free to go. Her ex was an asshole and an abuser, but he wasn’t abusing her then, and there is 9-11 audio of her *telling him that she was going to get something for him*, leaving, returning, and firing.

        Corey’s not offering a defense; she’s not on trial. Your compression of the entire prosecution process into one moment is unconvincing; she was willing to offer a good deal but Alexander turned it down, and she wasn’t willing to offer probation because Alexander showed a pattern of aggression against the victim.

        Unlike the Zimmerman case, this isn’t an instance where the vast majority of the facts are simply unknown and we’re left with one unreliable narrator. This is a case with two unreliable narrators, and a rich forensic picture which shows pretty clearly which one of them was lying and when. That forensic picture annihilates Alexander’s self-serving ‘poor victim’ narrative by clearing showing her as the aggressor and the escalator of a bad situation.

        I am frankly surprised to see a post like this here. This site has historically had a much higher level of fidelity to available data. What changed?

        • Bill Murray

          why is there zero reason to consider it a warning shot? or is this another of your factually inaccurate statements like the jury had to follow the instructions. Maybe it was a warning shot maybe it wasn’t. you don’t know and unless your psychic, you can not say there was zero reason.

          • I agree about the “warning shot” thing–are people always accurate shooters? Guns don’t wobble? Kick up? People don’t shoot on the way up? The children in question changed their story, as Corey herself admits. There’s a whole lot of “reasonable doubt” about what happened in that house and a whole lot of history behind women fearing for their lives with their abusive boyfriends. Again: why does she have a duty to retreat out of her own house? The law specifically allows men to refuse to retreat all the time. In the case I mention up above a white man got into a fight with another man, went home and got his gun and went out to a public place and shot his enemy and was aquitted under SYG. I would have no problem if they had seperately charged her with child endangerment for shooting off the gun near the children (btw) but none of the guys who shoot their enemies under SYG ever seem to be held to that standard either.

            • David M. Nieporent

              First, although the house was legally hers, too, she hadn’t been living there in months. So saying “Her own house” is spin. It’s not like she had to choose whether to flee her residence and desperately look for somewhere to stay.

              Second, she didn’t have a duty to leave. But the fact that she left, got her gun, and came back is evidence that she wasn’t actually scared at all. Especially since her claimed reason for coming back was refuted.

        • delurking

          Yes, we should absolutely believe the man with the restraining order over the woman he’s been beating up all these years.

          Maybe she’s a bad shot, Robert? And why did the guy *have* the kids with him? Hostages?

          And why are *you* so eager to believe the abusive husband?

        • cpinva

          “She wasn’t trapped in her house; that was another lie. She had left the house and was in the garage. She came back. Her arguing in the alternative (the garage door didn’t work AND I left my cell phone) was unconvincing and the forensics again showed that to be BS: the garage door worked fine. It isn’t self-defense to leave, arm yourself, and return. She had left; she was free to go. Her ex was an asshole and an abuser, but he wasn’t abusing her then, and there is 9-11 audio of her *telling him that she was going to get something for him*, leaving, returning, and firing.”

          under SYG, this IS self-defense, in FL. or haven’t you been paying any attention at all? no, of course you haven’t, because if you had, you’d realize this is pretty much Zimmerman, with boobs. only she didn’t actually kill anyone. thus, destroying your entire premise.

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  • cpinva

    out of curiousity, does anyone know if alexander’s atty’s are appealing the conviction and sentence? the judge certainly gave them sufficient grounds to do so. my guess is that the FL supreme court is going to find itself confronted with a bunch of conflicted SYG cases. this would be because the statute itself is a problem.

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