CREDIT: Associated Press
For more than a year, Marissa Alexander sat in a jail cell on a 20-year prison sentence for firing a bullet at the wall during an altercation with her abusive husband. Her case generated national outrage over the perverse outcomes of Stand Your Ground laws (she unsuccessfully invoked the defense) and mandatory minimum sentences (which applied to her case). Alexander was granted a new trial on appeal, and just before Thanksgiving, she was released to her family while she awaits the second round.
But now, prosecutor Angela Corey is trying to send her back to jail even before her trial, alleging she violated parole when she took trips to run errands and transport family members. Alexander’s lawyers say every trip was approved by her parole supervisors.
“No justification supports the state’s failure to include in its motion to modify and revoke bond the fact that every activity alleged to be a violation of bond had been approved by the agency charged with the responsibility of supervising Marissa Alexander’s bond,” Alexander’s lawyer Bruce Zimet wrote in his response motion. “Obviously, including those omitted facts would expose the frivolity of the state’s motion.”
Florida State Attorney Angela Corey, who also unsuccessfully prosecuted George Zimmerman, has doggedly defended her prosecution of Alexander even as public opinion turned against her. After an appeals court granted Alexander a new trial because of faulty jury instructions, public figures like Florida Rep. Corrine Brown (D) called for her to drop the case or seek lesser charges that don’t carry a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence. Instead, Corey has doubled down, alleging in her motion to revoke Alexander’s parole that she “continues to demonstrate her utter disregard for conforming her behavior to the rules of others.”
Circuit Judge James Daniel rejected Corey’s bid Friday, ruling that Alexander did not violate her parole and secured permission from the sheriff for every trip she took. Daniel said the sheriff, however, had been too lenient in granting Alexander’s travel requests.
Gun rights advocates exploited the outrage over Alexander’s sentence to propose a bill in Florida that, rather than just reforming the mandatory minimum sentence scheme or addressing the underlying domestic violence concerns, would expand Stand Your Ground immunity to those who fire or brandish a gun in self-defense. The so-called “warning shot” bill advanced Wednesday after it was approved by a Senate committee.