Breaking News! Marissa Alexander’s Guilty Plea Will Free her in January [UPDATES]
UPDATE on Dec. 2, 2014:
After fighting hard and serving more than 1,000 days in jail, Marissa Alexander will finally be free to go home and continue on with her life in January. And while it’s still not fair when you consider that Alexander should never have been thrown in jail in the first place, it’s much better than the possible 60 years she could have received if her trial was retried.
Alexander will have to be under community control or house arrest …
Read the full story HERE
UPDATE on July 26, 2014:
For Release: Immediately
Notice to the Media
Marissa Alexander supporters condemn denial of Stand Your Ground hearing and invite the public to Stand With Marissa, July 25-August 1
Free Marissa Now and thousands of Marissa Alexander’s supporters around the world are strongly disappointed that the Florida courts on July 18 denied Marissa a fair hearing to support her right to self-defense under Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws. Yet again, Florida refuses to free this survivor of domestic violence and undermines women’s right to self defense, though it failed to convict two white men for the murder of two innocent black teen boys. It appears that Florida courts place less value on a young black mother’s fear in the midst of a life-threatening attack and more value on the anger and unsupported fear of two white men.
Supporters of Marissa Alexander urge opponents of unjust incarceration to mobilize during the Standing Our Ground Week of Action: July 25-August 1. A week of programs will be held in Jacksonville, Florida and other communities to demand Marissa Alexander’s freedom, women’s right to control their own bodies and lives, and an end to mandatory minimum sentencing and mass incarceration. For more information on Standing Our Ground Week: http://www.freemarissanow.org/standing-our-ground-week.html.
Details of Jacksonville Standing Our Ground Week activities are below:
Friday, July 25:
10:00am – 4:00pm: Reproductive Justice 101, Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1201 Riverplace Blvd.
4:00 -6:00pm: Welcome Awards Program, Crowne Plaza Hotel
6:00- 8:00pm: Mingle and Social Media Party, Crowne Plaza Hotel
Saturday, July 26:
10:00am – 6:00pm: SisterSong Reproductive Justice Institute, Crowne Plaza Hotel, 1201 Riverplace Blvd.
10:00am – 6:00pm: Youth-led Movement Assembly, Crowne Plaza Hotel
7:00pm: Social Media Party, Crowne Plaza Hotel
Sunday, July 27:
10:00 am – 2:00 pm: Beach Day Action, Jax Beach, near the Boardwalk
4:30pm: VIP Eventbrite Benefit for Marissa Alexander Legal Defense Fund, Jacksonville Landing, 2 Independent Dr.
6:00pm – 9:00pm: Standing Our Ground Week Benefit Concert for Marissa Alexander Legal Defense Fund, Jacksonville Landing, 2 Independent Dr., Riverfront Stage
Monday, July 28:
7:30am: March to Duval Courthouse from Prudential side of Blue Bridge
9:00am: Press Conference, Duval County Courthouse steps, 501 W. Adams Street
11:00am People’s Investigation, University Sin Fronteras, and People’s Tribunal
Tuesday, July 29:
12noon-2pm: Stand Our Ground Week Booksigning, Chamberlain’s Book Store, 215 N. Laura St.
3pm-6pm: Women’s Movement & Social Change Panel, Keynote Speaker: Professor Beth Richie, author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation, followed by panel of local and national feminist and antiviolence organizers, Downtown Public Library, Conference Center Basement, 303 N. Laura St.
Wednesday, July 30:
2:00 – 5:00pm: Prison Industrial Complex/ Mass Incarceration Forum, Edward Waters College, Milne Auditorium, Grunthal St. and W. 5th St.
Thursday, July 31:
1pm – 2pm: Reception, Edward Waters College, Edward Waters College, Assessment Center, 1658 Kings Road
2pm – 5pm: Civil Rights Law & Community Legal Support Teams, Milne Auditorium, Grunthal St. & W. 5th St.
6pm – 8pm: Jazz at the Ritz Theatre and Museum, 829 N Davis St.
Friday, August 1:
9:00am: People’s Investigation/People’s Tribunal, Duval County Courthouse Library, Duval County Court House
UPDATE on March 4, 2014:
Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband, but now she may face up to 60 years in prison for the same crime, reports Jacksonville.com.
Alexander, 33, was previously convicted in 2012 of three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to 20 years in prison by Circuit Judge James Daniel under the state’s 10-20-life law. Daniel actually imposed three separate 20-year sentences on Alexander but ordered that they be served concurrently, which meant Alexander would get out in 20 years.
The conviction was thrown out after the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee ruled that Daniel made a mistake in shifting the burden to Alexander to prove she was acting in self-defense. During jury instructions, Daniel said she must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she was battered by her husband.
We pray her sentence is not tripled and that she gets the justice she deserves.
UPDATE on Feb. 10, 2014:
Some really good news has come from the supporters of Marissa Alexander. Her new trial has been pushed back to July 28, 2014.
According to Alexander’s attorney: the trial’s initial date, March 31, was too soon for adequate preparation. The new date allows him additional time to get expert witnesses on Battered Women’s Syndrome, ballistics, and research into contested testimony at Alexander’s first trial.
Moreover, Judge James Daniel revealed he is banning live-streaming and the use of Twitter in the courtroom to avoid pre-trial publicity.
UPDATE on Jan. 14, 2014:
Even though the Florida state attorney filed a motion stating Marissa Alexander violated her release conditions, a judge has ruled she can remain free on bail.
Circuit Court Judge James Daniel denied Assistant State Attorney Richard Mantei‘s request to revoke Alexander’s bail for “going out shopping for clothes, driving family members to the hair shop and airport, getting a new driver’s license, visiting the bank and seeing a sister-in-law.”
Mantei’s stated to the judge that Alexander, 33, was on home detention while performing her errands. The conditions of her detention prohibit her from leaving her residence except for court appearances, medical emergencies and to satisfy any requirements of her pretrial services program.
Well, thank God for this because they have been really messing with her. We pray that she will get her new trial and remain free from an overturned conviction.
UPDATE on Jan. 10, 2014:
The latest on the Marissa Alexander bond release or not to be released on bond:
Alexander’s lawyers shot back in a motion that a correctional service counselor had approved all of her trips. That woman, April Wilson, told the judge Friday she believed she was following the court’s order when she approved those trips, according to WAWS.
The State blasted this defense in a response filed Wednesday, saying, “In fact, the Court is the ‘agency’ which determines whether Defendant’s actions — ‘approved’ or not — comply with the orders and the Court gave no such approval.”
The judge determined that while mistakes had been made, Alexander did not violate the terms of her bond, according to WAWS. Source
UPDATE on Jan. 9, 2014:
The injustice continues:
Florida State Attorney Angela Corey’s office has filed a motion to see Alexander put back behind bars, alleging she “repeatedly flouted” her home detention bond conditions on by running various errands including shopping for clothes, visiting a bank, and driving family members to various destinations.
But Alexander’s attorney fired back with their own motion, insisting the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, tasked with overseeing her bond, had signed off on every trip she took.
Hello, Duh? They seem to only want to find some reason to put her back in prison. Florida justice system is very disliked right now and not getting any better in our opinion. SMH!
UPDATE on Jan. 8, 2014:
Florida Special Prosecutor Angela Corey has filed a motion to revoke the bond of Marissa Alexander, claiming she violated conditions of her parole by running errands, reports First Coast News. Special prosecutor Angela Corey’s motion accusing Alexander of violating her parole conditions is scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m. A new bond hearing was initially scheduled for Nov. 13 — because a judge ruled that there were errors in the jury instructions.
UPDATE on Nov. 28, 2013: Marissa Alexander has been blessed. A judge has granted her $200,000 bail for the holidays. The Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign stated:
”Words cannot express the relief and joy of everyone in the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign that Marissa Alexander is home with her family this Thanksgiving Day.” “We are thrilled that Ms. Alexander will be able to prepare for her new trial amid the support and love of her children and family from whom she has been separated far too long.”
The pretrial special conditions are stated to be standard considering the charges against her. They include a few of some of them below: • Remain under the supervision of the pretrial services program at all times • Subject to electronic monitoring through the CTC at all times • Remain on home detention until completion of her case and will be allowed to leave her residence except for court appearances, medical emergencies, etc. • Alexander cannot change her residence without prior notice and approval, etc. • Cannot have contact with, nor communicate by any means with Rico Gray, Sr., Pernell Gray and Rico Gray, Jr. • Alexander shall abide by all court orders in the divorce proceedings involving Rico Gray, Sr., including all orders that pertain to child custody, exchange of child custody for visitation shall be facilitated by a third party • Alexander shall not possess any firearms, nor shall there be any firearms in her residence at any time during her pretrial release Alexander’s trial is scheduled to begin March 31, 2014. Thank God for her. It’s been a long time coming for her and we are praying she enjoys her time with her family that her new trial comes out victoriously!
UPDATE on Nov. 14, 2013: Well, it looks like Marissa Alexander will remain in prison until after the New Year. Judge James Daniel, who was over her recent hearing, said he will probably not going to rule until another pretrial hearing which is scheduled for Jan. 15 because of a backlog of cases, WJXT TV in Jacksonville reported. The Florida-Times Union reported Alexander’s husband sent her texts stating he wanted to have sex with her after the warning shot was made. Her attorneys are stating this proves he was not afraid of her and that she should not be in jail. Unfortunately, the judge ruled against it and she will remain in jail until her pretrial hearing after the New Year. Stay tuned for updated news on Marissa Alexander’s new trial.
UPDATE on Nov. 8, 2013: Marissa Alexander Gets New Trial, Bail Hearing Set for This Friday [UPDATE] Marissa Alexander was schedule to have a bail hearing today, but it has been delayed until next Wednesday on Nov. 13th. As for now, no reason for the delay was given to the press.
UPDATE on Nov. 6, 2013: Marissa Alexander, the Florida woman who fired a warning shot at her husband and was sentenced to 20 years in prison as a result, will appear at a bail hearing this Friday to learn if she will be set free, The Florida Times-Union reports. Circuit Judge James Daniel set a hearing for Friday, Nov. 8, at 2 p.m. to decide whether Alexander will get bail. Judge Daniel also said Alexander’s trial will start on Monday, March 31. Alexander’s new Fort Lauderdale attorney, Bruce Zimet, said this trial will be very different from the first one. He says Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which allows the use of deadly force instead of retreating if the person is afraid for his or her life, would play an important part in the trial. We wish her the best in this new trial and pray she gets bail! Original post from Oct. 3, 2013 below:
God is Good Marissa Alexander Gets New Trial After Jailed For Firing Warning Shots To Avoid Her Death
We thank God for taking control over this situation. Ever since Trayvon Martin verdict, people have lost some faith in the justice system in Florida. Now that George Zimmerman is free and causing more harm to our society than ever, Florida court officials should be on their knees praying he doesn’t go on a killing rampage since he threatened his wife and father-in-law with and knife and gun. At least now, they must make a move to prove they can do something right before God and the people and grant this deserving woman another trial. We thank God for her chance to have the facts come out. Via MSNBC reports:
Marissa Alexander, the African-American woman who was sentenced to 20 years for discharging a firearm in Florida despite pleading Stand Your Ground against her husband, will get a new trial. Alexander, 32, said she fired a bullet at the ceiling because she was afraid of her husband. No one was injured. It took 12 minutes for the jury to convict her. “We reject her contention that the trial court erred in declining to grant her immunity from prosecution under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law,” wrote Judge James H. Daniel, “but we remand for a new trial because the jury instructions on self-defense were erroneous.” Alexander, who had given birth the week before, testified that after an altercation regarding texts from her ex-husband, she locked herself in the bathroom. Her husband Rico Gray broke through the door, grabbed her by the neck, and shoved her into the door. She ran to the garage, found she couldn’t get the door open, and returned with a gun. When Gray saw the gun, he said, “Bi**h, I’ll kill you.” Alexander testified that firing the gun into the air as a warning shot was “the lesser of two evils.”
The jury rejected her self-defense argument, and instead Alexander was sentenced under the “10-20-Life” law, which carries a series of mandatory minimum sentences related to gun crimes. The prosecutor in her case was Angela Corey, who also prosecuted George Zimmerman who was acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin. After an outcry at the apparent racial double standard in the application of Stand Your Ground, Corey told the Washington Post, “I think social media is going to be the destruction of this country.” The appeals court judge ruled that the lower court judge improperly put a burden on Alexander to prove that the firing was in self-defense. “The defendant’s burden is only to raise a reasonable doubt concerning self-defense,” Daniel wrote. “The defendant does not have the burden to prove the victim guilty of the aggression defended against beyond a reasonable doubt.” He ordered a retrial. A separate proceeding would determine whether Alexander could be released on bail pending that trial.