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Florida Bill “The Warning Shot” May Help Marissa Alexander Escape Prison

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Marissa Alexander may not face prison time since a bill titled Warning Shot Fired was passed in FLorida. www.naturallymoi.com

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Reported by Andrew Scot Bolsinger

Marissa Alexander of Florida, who faced 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot at her husband, is not expected to be sent back to prison, according to published reports.

This news comes following a new law called “The Warning Shot” bill that was signed into law last week by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, in part motivated by Alexander’s case.

Jurors took 12 minutes to convict Alexander and sentence her to 20 years in prison in 2010 for firing a shot near her estranged husband during an altercation. She contended she fired in self-defense, but a judge rejected her use of the “stand your ground” law that allows someone to use deadly force if they believe their life is in jeopardy, according to The Tallahassee Democrat.

The verdict was thrown out on appeal and she is awaiting a new trial. She is currently free on bond.

The conviction of Alexander, who is black, sparked outrage and cries of a racial double standard in light of the exoneration of George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic, for the death of Trayvon Martin, who was black. In particular, outrage aired on social media and among some lawmakers on Capitol Hill, according to published reports.

Ironically the court that granted her a retrial also rejected her contention that the Stand Your Ground law was relevant.

“We reject her contention that the trial court erred in declining to grant her immunity from prosecution under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, but we remand for a new trial because the jury instructions on self-defense were erroneous,” wrote the presiding justice.

“We are of course grateful for the governor’s actions,” read a statement from Alexander’s legal team.

Alexander testified that her then-husband, Rico Gray Sr., broke through a bathroom door that she had locked and grabbed her by the neck. She said she tried to push her way through him but he shoved her into the door, prompting a struggle. She tried to leave, but the door was locked and she grabbed a gun she owned legally, according to court records.

Her husband saw the gun and charged at her “in a rage” saying, “I’ll kill you.” She said she raised the gun and fired a warning shot into the air to scare him off, rather than hurt him.

Andrew Scot Bolsinger won more than two dozen press awards during his journalism career. He is a freelance writer, author and operates www.criminalu.co, which is focused on prison reform. He can reached at Andrew.Bolsinger@gmail.comand can be followed @CriminalUniv on Twitter.

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