Marissa Alexander now could face 60 years in prison for defending herself

Marissa Alexander

(Image credit: Bob Mack/The Times-Union)

The state of Florida seems determined to punish Marissa Alexander for defending herself.

You may recall that in the fall, the black mother who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot into a wall to scare off her abusive husband, was granted a retrial. She was released, after three years in jail, in time to spend Thanksgiving with her family, but then the Florida State Attorney Angela Corey moved to revoke her bond.

Now Corey–who has the power to reduce the charges or drop the case entirely–says they’ll try to triple Alexander’s original prison sentence from 20 to 60 years if she loses the retrial in July. 

Sumayya Fire of Free Marissa Now reminds us:

Remember that this entire case boils down to a woman defending her life from her husband who attacked her, strangled her, threatened to kill her, whose beatings have sent her to the hospital and likely caused her to have premature labor. A husband who confirmed in a deposition that he beat her, that he was in a rage when he attacked her, and that he has beaten other women with whom he was involved. Remember that when Marissa Alexander fired her warning shot to save her own life, she caused no injuries. Now she’s facing the very real possibility of spending the rest of her life in prison for that act of self-defense. That should send a chill down the back of every person in this country who believes that women who are attacked have the right to defend themselves.

Free Marissa Now, which has been tireless advocating for Alexander’s release, called the move “a stunning abuse of power” and accused Corey of ”using the full power of the system to serve her own political ambitions” and “substituting vindictiveness for justice.” Yup. When we’re talking about essentially a life sentence for an act of self-defense that caused exactly zero injuries to anyone, I’m inclined to agree.

You can donate here to support Alexander’s retrial fund.

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted March 5, 2014 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    “Now Corey–who has the power to reduce the charges or drop the case entirely–says they’ll try to triple Alexander’s original prison sentence from 20 to 60 years”

    Untrue, Angela Corey is seeking the exact same 20 year sentences for each of the 3 convictions she won in the first trial. The difference is that she wants them to run consecutively as she believes is required under the law. It would essentially become a 60 year term. What I’m wondering about is Alexander has already spent 3 years in prison, which she should get credit for. It should theoretically be applied to each conviction as the sentences were initially imposed concurrently. That could be an avenue of appeal.

  2. Posted March 5, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Ridiculous case exhibiting the foolishness of zero tolerance policies, in this case pertaining to guns. Hopefully the legislators can find some sanity and release this woman already.

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