Tag Archives: Stand Your Ground

The Right to Self Defense

March 1, 2014

From:           Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign

Angela Corey Aims to Increase Marissa Alexander Sentence to 60 Years; Outrageous Targeting of Alexander Impacts All Women. 


Demonstrating a stunning abuse of power, Florida State Prosecutor, Angela Corey, announced that she aims to increase the prison sentence for Marissa Alexander from 20 to 60 years in the upcoming July 28th trial.  In 2012, Alexander – an African American mother of three in Jacksonville, Florida —  was sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 20 years for firing a warning shot upwards into a wall to defend her life from her abusive estranged husband.  She caused no injuries.  Alexander successfully appealed the unjust trial and was granted a new trial. In November 2013, after serving nearly three years in prison, she was released on bond to home detention until her new trial.

Yet as a consequence of winning the appeal to hopefully secure a more fair trial, Alexander now faces the alarming prospect that the original devastating sentence could be tripled in the new trial.  In the upcoming trial, Corey says she intends to seek three 20 year sentences for Alexander to be served consecutively rather than concurrently, tripling the mandatory minimum to 60 years.

Free Marissa Now member and victim’s advocate, Sumayya Fire, stated, “Remember that this entire case boils down to a woman defending her life from her husband who attacked her, strangled her, threatened to kill her, whose beatings have sent her to the hospital and likely caused her to have premature labor.  A husband who confirmed in a deposition that he beat her, that he was in a rage when he attacked her, and that he has beaten other women with whom he was involved.

Remember that when Marissa Alexander fired her warning shot to save her own life, she caused no injuries.  Now she’s facing the very real possibility of spending the rest of her life in prison for that act of self-defense.  That should send a chill down the back of every person in this country who believes that women who are attacked have the right to defend themselves.  Anyone who believes that domestic violence is unjust should be deeply shaken by Corey’s abusive prosecution of Marissa Alexander and should be advocating for Alexander’s freedom.”

Sumayya Fire and other members of Free Marissa Now believe that Angela Corey has launched a campaign of escalating punishment of Marissa Alexander to shield herself from charges of mishandling trials and failing to secure guilty verdicts for the murders of black teens, Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin, in addition to various lawsuits targeting her office for misconduct, and criticism for a pattern of maliciously over-charging defendants in order to bully them into plea bargains. ”

Corey is on the defense and appears to be substituting vindictiveness for justice,” said Free Marissa Now member, Helen Gilbert. “If anyone still thought Angela Corey was seeking justice rather than making a political power-play, this latest news must erase all doubt. Corey is using the full power of the system to serve her own political ambitions, at the sake of one woman’s life and every woman’s safety.”

Despite Corey’s scare and smear tactics, the national Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign is resolved to fight for Marissa Alexander’s freedom, and for the lives and freedom of all victims of domestic violence.  The campaign calls on the Florida legislature to repeal all mandatory minimum laws, and ensure that judges have discretion over whether sentences can be served consecutively or concurrently.

Jacksonville activist and Free Marissa Now leader Aleta Alston-Toure’ adds, “We also call on all people who want to end domestic violence, who believe in the right to self-defense, and who want to end mass incarceration to support the Marissa Alexander Legal Defense Fund.  Alexander faces $250,000 in legal fees and $2,205 for the ankle monitor she is forced to wear while under house arrest. All these cost are waged against an innocent woman who needs everyone’s help.

A 60 year sentence for Marissa Alexander would not only be devastating for her, her children and family, and her community, it would be a decisive blow to the right to self defense for black women and all women.  Incarcerating Marissa Alexander will send a strong message to all survivors that violence against them will be ignored and they instead will be subject to prosecution if they defend their lives. It is up to us to make sure victims of domestic violence are not forced to choose between saving their lives and spending the rest of their lives in prison. Enough is enough!  Please join Free Marissa Now!”

Contributions to the Marissa Alexander Freedom Fund can be made at http://igg.me/at/freemarissa2. Free Marissa Now can be reached at www.freemarissanow.org, freemarissanow@gmail.com, and on facebooktwitter, and tumblr at “freemarissanow”.

The information in this post was taken from “The Free Marissa Now” webpage in support of the Mobilization Campaign, which is an international grassroots campaign led by a core of organizers representing the African American/Black Women’s Cultural Alliance, New Jim Crow Movement – Jacksonville, Radical Women, INCITE!, and the Pacific Northwest Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander.


As we continue to move further into the preposterous I am shocked and saddened at the judicial system in Florida. Now, I know these unfair situations do not only occur in Florida but it does hold the distinction of two of the most outrageous legal events – that we know of – in modern times. African Americans all to well, and have always decried the justice system, that has been blatantly unfair to us.

If ever the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida had a chance of being applied fairly, this case shows that it has gone out the window as of last Friday. A court sentenced a black woman; Marissa Alexander a 31-year-old mother of three to 20 years for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband. I thought the law was supposed to have been passed for a persons to protect themselves, if they feared that their life was in danger. That’s what was represented on behalf of George Zimmerman.

In light of the aftermath of the long-delayed arrest of Trayvon Martin’s assassin, it is incomprehensible that Alexander, who neither killed nor injured anyone, has been convicted of aggravated assault with a firearm and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Let me just remind you that just about a month ago the system did not want to arrest the murder of a child who only had candy and a drink. Moreover, he posed no threat. Unbelievable!!!

Marissa’s husband, Rico Gray, a man with a documented history of abuse including an assault on her while she was pregnant, threatened to kill her nine days after the birth of their daughter. This time, Marissa wasn’t going to put up with another beating. When threatened, she fired a warning shot into the ceiling to let Gray know that the abuse was over and he’d better think twice before coming after her again. He then ran into the street and claimed that she had threatened to kill him and his boys. On his word alone, she was arrested.

State Attorney Angela Corey, the same prosecutor who is prosecuting the Trayvon Martin case, offered a three-year sentence plea bargain but Alexander refused on the grounds that she had done nothing wrong. Alexander tried to invoke Florida’s Stand Your Ground law but the judge refused.

Even though Gray recanted and even though Alexander’s 11-year-old daughter took the stand and made a plea on her mother’s behalf, the judge said that he had no choice but to sentence Alexander for at least 20 years.

This verdict poses serious questions about an already questionable law that is applied unevenly. Jacksonville Congresswoman Corrine Brown has stated that Alexander’s case is a product of “institutionalized racism” and that she had been unable to locate a Stand Your Ground case where a black person is the beneficiary of the law. In the meantime, Marissa Alexander faces a long time in prison with little hope of getting out.

There is an online petition to Florida Governor Rick Scott to grant a pardon to Marissa Alexander. You can sign it here:  Pardon Marissa Alexander – show your support and sign the petition!

I want to thank author Ann Werner where much of this article was gleaned. I hope you don’t mind Ann but I was compelled to share and show my support. Thank you and that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


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