No one could make a sound argument that this nation’s “justice” system is primarily geared towards the protection and benefit of certain people. Given the information and facts obtained within the last few decades, it’s no surprise as to whom those people are, and how they view the system as opposed to the not-so privileged population. Those on the outside view the police, the courts, and the prison industrial complex as forms of control and oppression rather than institutions designed to “protect and serve”.
The case of Marissa Alexander is but one of many examples of a how this is true. Alexander, an African American mother of three, has been a victim of domestic violence at the hands of her abuse husband, especially during her pregnancy. During one confrontation in August 2010, she protected herself by shooting a gun into the air to avoid getting hurt or worse. No one was hurt, but she now faces 25 years in prison. A blog site dedicated to her case explains:
The weapon was in my right hand down by my side and he yelled, “Bitch I will kill you!”, and charged toward me. In fear and desperate attempt, I lifted my weapon up, turned away and discharged a single shot in the wall up in the ceiling. As I stood my ground it prevented him from doing what he threatened and he ran out of the home. Outside of the home, he contacted the police and falsely reported that I shot at him and his sons. The police arrived and I was taken into custody.
I was devastated and would continue to be for months following the incident. I had to appear in court all the way up until trial as I plead not guilty and know that I acted in self-defense. I believe my actions saved my life or prevented further harm, but preserved that of my husband who was completely irrational, extremely violent, and unpredictable that day.
Florida has a self-defense law and it includes the right to stand your ground. Below are the facts of my concern with the incorrect way the law was applied and ultimately the injustice in my case.
1. The alleged victim, my husband, under sworn statement in November 2010, admitted he was the aggressor, threatened my life and was so enraged he didn’t know what he would do.
2. The alleged victim, my husband, was arrested for domestic violence two times, once for abuse against me. The attack against me was so violent; I ended up in the hospital.
3. Prior to my arrest, I told the office I was in fear for my life due to the prior violence against me. I also told the officer there was a domestic injunction in place to protect me against abuse from the alleged victim. This information was written in detail by the officer in my arrest report, but ignored for some unknown reason.
4. In July of 2011, a hearing was held, where I along with the alleged victims testified as it relates to the stand your ground law and its immunity from prosecution.
5. After the hearing, Judge Elizabeth Senterfitt denied my motion, citing that I could have exited the house thru the master bedroom window, front door, and/or sliding glass back door. The law specifically states: No duty to retreat.
6. My attorney entered a standing objection on the record to the ruling and we proceeded to trial.
7. During that time, Angela Corey, our State Attorney met with the alleged victims. I also along with my attorney met with Angela Corey, John Guy, and then prosecutor Christen Luikart. I justified my actions to them and the truth as I have told it has remained the same.
8. Knowing our prior domestic abuse history, Angela Corey was hard pressed for the minimum mandatory, which provisions allow for prosecution to wave those stipulations. I was not guilty, nor did I believe that was fair and just under the circumstances. She also allowed for those same provisions in the State vs. Vonda Parker, same charges different circumstances which did not include self-defense.
9. Florida uses a law commonly known as 10-20-life as a sentencing guideline when a felony takes place with the use of a weapon. Under this statute, my felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to harm carries a twenty year mandatory sentence.
10. Stand your ground law has been applied in multiple recent incidents, the following is just a couple of incidents. Carl Kroppman Jr was allowed to use this law to avoid being arrested/charged during a road rage incident on the Buckman Bridge in Jacksonville, FL in August of 2011. Marqualle Woolbright of Ocala, FL avoided murder charges due to the stand your ground law when he shoot and killed someone.
It has been reported that George Zimmerman, the murderer of Trayvon Martin, was released on bail after given a half-assed apology to the Martin family. George Zimmerman was a white-Hispanic male who stalked, shot and killed Martin for looking “suspicious” after the police advised him, on the phone, not to do anything. Martin was a 17 year-old unarmed black male. Zimmerman was not immediately arrested after the shooting.
As we examine Zimmerman’s case along with other examples of the Stand Your Ground law gone horribly wrong, Alexander’s situation is a grim example of society’s gender preference as to who deserves justice and who doesn’t.
Many women have been the victims of abuse at the hands of their male acquaintances. Some have defended themselves, and their family in certain cases, against their abuser–even resorting to murder. Marissa Alexander did not intend to murder anyone on that fateful day, but her husband was furious enough to enforce his insecure dominance through brute force which could have lead to her death. But in a bizarre twist of fate, she’s paying the price for standing her ground while her husband is free to do whatever he wants which includes pummeling another woman.
In the end it’s no surprise that certain people are only allowed to stand their ground.
If you want justice for Marissa Alexander, please click on this link to sign the petition.