Monday, April 16, 2012

Marissa Alexander

by Dick Mac

Many people believe that the laws of the land are applied differently between the rich and the poor, men and women, white and non-white.

There is quite a bit of evidence that laws and sentencing are applied differently among different groups of people. A man who murders his wife for infidelity rarely serves much (if any) time in prison because it is a crime of passion. A woman who kills an abusive husband who has been beating the shit out of her is generally imprisoned for manslaughter or worse.

It is not uncommon to hear people state that had the tables had been turned in the Trayvon Martin murder, that Martin killed George Zimmerman instead of vice-versa, the boy would have been arrested, probably held without bail, and prosecuted for murder. Since the victim is black and the perpetrator white, no such thing happened. Zimmerman claimed protection under the Florida "stand your ground" law and the police decided no crime was committed - even though a dead 17-year-old boy lay dead in a pool of his own blood.

So, Florida has a law that allows use of a licensed firearm, by a licensed gun-owner, to protect himself, his family, and his property.

In Duval County, Florida, a gun-owner licensed to carry a concealed weapon, was in possession of a legal firearm when a life-threatening attack took place in the kitchen. The gun-owner knew the perpetrator and did not wish to shoot him. The gun was raised in the air and a single shot was fired up into the wall and the perpetrator fled.

This, you might think, is a perfect example of the success and appropriate application of Florida's stand-your-ground law.

The story is familiar: an abusive husband was in a rage against his wife. She tried to flee and was unable to get out through the garage. Believing her attacker had left the house, she entered the kitchen to find her car keys. The attacker had not left the home and confronted her. The woman was in possession of a legal firearm for which she was licensed to carry as a concealed weapon. When he saw her he said he was going to kill her. She raised the gun in the air.

As stated above, she did not want to shoot her husband, just scare him and get him to go away. So she shot into the wall near the ceiling, and he fled the house.

The attacker called the police and said that the woman was shooting at him and his sons.

When police arrived, she explained the situation, including the detail that there had been restraining orders against the attacker in the past. She was expecting to be protected by the State's stand-your-ground law.

Oddly, even though nobody was harmed and nobody was actually shot at, she was arrested.

Marissa Alexander is a black woman. There is likely no group of Americans less protected by law enforcement than black women. These are some statements she has made about her case:
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.

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.

After the hearing, Judge Elizabeth Senterfitt denied my motion, citing that I could have exited the house [through] the master bedroom window, front door, and/or sliding glass back door. The law specifically states: No duty to retreat.

She could have exited through a window in the master bedroom, therefore she had no need to use her gun for protection.

The judge has actually said that the woman could have escaped through a window while under attack inside her own home.

This flies in the face of the intention of the law, which is based on the notion that one should not have to flee her own home if under attack.

The case is pending.

She is black. She is a woman. Laws are applied differently for black women. Especially if they are believed to have threatened the safety of a man.

Things don't look good for Marissa, or her children who will be left without a mother when she is sentenced to prison.

At Moorbey's Blog, Lincoln B. Alexander Jr has decided to tell Marissa's story:

Marissa Alexander Stood Her Ground – No One Was Injured or Murdered – She Faces 25 Years In Prison

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