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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Petition: FL Woman Fires Warning Shot to Stop Abuse: Arrested and Now Faces 20+ Years in Prison.

Free Woman Arrested for Defending Herself from Domestic Abuse

Goal: Don’t allow woman to be jailed for decades for defending herself from domestic abuse.
On the afternoon of August 1, 2010, in Jacksonville Florida, Marissa Alexander and her husband, Rico Gray, got into an argument, which escalated until Mrs. Alexander fired a warning shot from her pistol into the ceiling. Nobody was harmed during this incident yet, when the police arrived on scene, Mrs. Alexander was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (20+ year minimum sentence). In the legal proceedings that followed, Mrs. Alexander claimed that her actions were self-defense and necessary to protect her life in the face of an abusive husband, yet she was still charged with multiple felonies.
Mrs Alexander’s claim that her discharge of a weapon was simply an attempt to ward off violence from her husband is supported by statement from Mr. Gray himself, as well as his well-documented history of violence towards women. Mr. Gray himself admits to perpetrating physical violence against Mrs. Alexander on previous occasions, thus her assumption that he meant her harm in this particular incident is entirely reasonable.
Despite the fact that Florida is home to the now-infamous “stand your ground” law, which gives wide latitude in the claim of self-defense, as well as the clear facts of the incident supporting Mrs. Alexander’s case, immunity was not given by the court.
The “stand your ground law” has been used dozens of times where a fatal shootings have taken place, and in many cases the evidence was far less clear (the most well-known example of this is the Trayvon Martin shooting); this leaves the question, “What justifies the unusually harsh treatment of a woman who not only didn’t kill anybody when confronted with violence, but used the bare minimum of force to ensure her safety?”
Mrs. Alexander is a 31 year old mother with no record of violence, yet is currently facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in jail for the “crime” of protecting herself from further physical abuse. While she is in jail, her abuser is free and has custody over their daughter. This petition is intended to increase federal scrutiny on this case and, hopefully, lead to a more humane conclusion than is currently apparent.


Dear US Department of Justice,
I am sending your agency this letter in order you to alert you to a potential miscarriage of justice which has resulted in the imprisonment of a Jacksonville, Florida woman, only guilty of defending herself from an abuser. Marissa Alexander, a 31 year old mother with no history of violence, was charged and convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, despite the fact that her actions were in clear compliance with state law.
Florida self-defense law allows for the use of force, even when retreat is possible – a situation which all parties involved in this case have corroborated. Unfortunately, for reasons which seem inconsistent with the facts of the case, the prosecutors and judges involved have failed to consider Mrs. Alexander’s actions as self-defense.
If the law is not being applied fairly and equitably in a state, it is the responsibility of the Department of Justice to see that a citizens’ civil rights are not violated. I implore you to look further into this matter in order to ensure that justice is done, and that the law is carried out fairly and equally. Mrs. Alexander deserves fair treatment under the law, and I hope that you will take action to guarantee that there is no further miscarriage of justice.
[Your Name Here]

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