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Marissa Alexander, Florida Stand-Your-Ground Defendant, Released On Bail

Submitted by on November 29, 2013 – 9:58 am4 Comments

A Florida woman who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot has been released on bail. The case of Marissa Alexander has attracted national attention for perceived parallels between it and the prosecution of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

In 2010, Alexander fired into a wall during a confrontation with her estranged husband, against whom she had a restraining order. She was convicted last year of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and was sentenced under sentencing requirements. But an appeals court has ordered a new trial; and as that is pending, Alexander was released on $200,009 bail.

The appeals court found that the jury instructions in Alexander’s trial were insufficient. However, it did uphold the lower courts rejection of Alexander’s self-defense claim under the Stand Your Ground law.

Alexander claims she feared for her life in the confrontation.

This past July, Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin. He did not seek immunity under the Stand Your Ground law, but did argue that Martin attacked him, and that he feared for his life. Florida law does not require that citizens retreat before using lethal force under some circumstances. Under the law, the lethal threat need not be real, as long as it is perceived.

Activists accused the Florida court system of maintaining a double standard in denying the defense to Alexander, a black woman, but allowing it for Zimmerman, a Hispanic/Caucasian man.

[via NBC News]

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