Marissa Alexander, who turned 33 years old behind bars this month, is getting a belated birthday present, courtesy of the Florida Court of Appeals. The appellate court reversed her conviction, ruling that jury instructions on self-defense were erroneous. But she won’t get another stand-your-ground hearing.
Marissa has served 16 months of a 20 year sentence after being convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for firing what she described as a warning shot.
At trial, the only real issue was whether she had acted in self-defense when she fired the gun.
In her appeal, Marissa maintained that the trial court abused its discretion, by giving self-defense instructions to the jury that improperly put the burden on her to establish – beyond a reasonable doubt – that Rico Gray, her fiance, was committing or was about to commit an aggravated battery when she fired the gun.
Under Florida’s 10-20-Life statutes, anyone who pulls a gun during the commission of a crime receives a mandatory 10-year sentence. Firing a gun during a crime draws 20 years.
In a stand-your-ground hearing prior to her last trial, Marissa was denied immunity, and the appellate court affirmed that ruling still stands, so she won’t get another hearing.
Her case now goes back to Florida’s 4th Circuit Court, but no trial date was released.
READ THE APPEALS COURT RULING:
- Alexander clemency on front burner (news4jax.com)
- Pardon Abused Mother Marissa Alexander for Standing Her Ground (petition) (illuminatebytanya.wordpress.com)
- Nationwide rallies demand justice for Marissa Alexander (workers.org)