No Bail for Marissa Alexander

No Bail for Marissa Alexander
Marissa Alexander

AFRICAGLOBE – Marissa Alexander’s motion for bail was left undecided today, when the Judge responsible for the decision decided to delay further action on the matter until January 15, 2014.

Alexander’s attorney had made a request for bail in anticipation of her re-trial on charges of aggravated assault, using a firearm, against her estranged husband.

Alexander was granted a new trial early this year after her conviction for aggravated assault (with a firearm enhancement) was overturned on the grounds that the self-defense jury instructions were defective.

Alexander’s conviction was based on evidence that in the course of a heated argument with her estranged husband she retrieved a handgun from the garage, returned to the interior of the home, and fired a shot past his head and into the wall behind him (while his two minor children stood by his side).

The bullet penetrated through the wall and sped across the next room until embedding itself in the ceiling. Some have sought to characterize the shooting as a mere “warning shot” or the “shooting of a ceiling,” a characterization we’ve previously debunked here:  The Myth of Marissa Alexander’s “Warning Shot”.

Alexander always seemed a poor candidate for bail given the prior disrespect she has shown the criminal courts.

In addition to the core aggravated assault for which she was charged and convicted, Alexander also allegedly induced her estranged husband to submit false exculpatory testimony on her behalf (testimony he later retracted), repeatedly meeting with him in violation of an order of protection intended to keep her away from him and his children. She later assaulted him a second time, albeit this time without a weapon.

The next hearing in this case is scheduled for January 15, 2014, so Alexander is unlikely to have any prospect for bail prior to that date.

A major issue in the Alexander case is widespread anger over the application of Florida’s “10-20-Life” mandatory minimum sentencing law (775.087.

Possession or use of weapon; aggravated battery; felony reclassification; minimum sentence.), both in the Alexander case as well as in other similar cases where a user of force was arguably acting defensively.

Under “10-20-Life” a person committing a crime while possessing a firearm receives a minimum 10-year sentence; while firing a firearm receives a minimum 20-year sentence; while injuring or killing someone with a firearm a minimum life sentence.

The Florida legislature just advanced from committee on a 12-1 vote a bill, HB-89, that would remove a defensive use of force from the scope of the “10-20-Life” sentencing framework.

 

By: Andrew Branca

 

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