Stories being brought to light are bringing into question the way the Stand Your Ground laws have been applied, or not applied, in the past. Two stories appear to highlight a possible double standard regarding the application of “stand your ground.”
The 2010 case of Marissa Alexander and the 2005 Georgia case of John McNeil, are two examples that are receiving renewed attention.
Florida’s stand-your-ground law states an individual may use deadly force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of a threat – without an obligation to retreat. There is also a provision in the Florida law providing that the person who is allegedly defending themselves can avoid arrest.
The story of Marissa Alexander is receiving a new look after a website created by her ex-husband, Lincoln Alexander, gains more attention. The site Justice for Marissa claims Marissa Alexander was arrested and is now facing 20 years in prison after a 2010 confrontation with her current husband. According to Alexander, this was not the only confrontation: the current husband had been arrested for domestic violence on two other occasions, including one instance where it’s alleged he beat her so severely that she ” … ended up in the hospital.” And the wife also claims that her husband admitted he was the aggressor in the 2010 incident.
Lincoln Alexander, who was married to Marissa Alexander for seven years, told Politic365 he remained friends with his ex-wife after their divorce and became aware of the trouble she was having with her current husband. Lincoln Alexander claims Marissa Alexander was not given the same consideration George Zimmerman was after he killed Trayvon Martin on February 26. Zimmerman was finally arrested and charged with second degree murder 46 days after killing Martin and claiming “stand your ground.” But, unlike Alexander, Zimmerman was released by police after claiming Martin attacked him.
In an interview with Politic365, Lincoln Alexander explained that Marissa Alexander evoked stand-your-ground at the time of her arrest.
“Before she was arrested she told police she was in fear for her life. She had an order of protection out on her husband since Sept 2009,” Lincoln Alexander added.
According to the information posted by Lincoln Alexander on Justice for Marissa, Marissa Alexander fired a gun into the ceiling of their residence to allegedly scare off her ex-husband during a confrontation. A call to the Duval County Florida jail’s watch commander’s office confirmed that a person born in 1980 named Marissa Alexander is, indeed, currently in custody as the website by Lincoln Alexander states.
A conversation with Duval County prosecutor Nicholas Lake, who is handling Alexander’s case, confirms the case is in the system. But Lake could not comment or give any details on the particulars of her case because it is a pending legal matter. Lake did confirm that Alexander will be the subject of a sentencing hearing next week.
“She received three counts of aggravated assault for discharging the gun into the ceiling,” Lincoln Alexander continued. “She’s innocent, she tried to leave the premises and the gun was never pointed at the kids. Yet, the prosecutor believed she was not in fear for her life,” Lincoln Alexander informed Politic365.
Lincoln Alexander has contacted the offices of Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL), who represents Jacksonville, and several state lawmakers in Florida but has yet to receive a response. When Politic365 asked Congresswoman Brown about the case, she claimed she was unaware of it. Other Florida Representatives, including Allen West, Alcee Hastings and Frederica Wilson, were also unaware of the details of her case as of yesterday.
According to his website in support of Melissa Alexander, a press conference on her case is to be held today in Jacksonville, Fla. at the Duval County Downtown Courthouse.
LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE, Politic365 Chief Congressional Correspondent, publishes the blog Crewof42 on the Congressional Black Caucus. She is heard every Tuesday on WMCS 1290 in Milwaukee on Earl Ingram’s show The Evening Rush as well as on WHUR and WPFW in Washington DC. You can follow her on twitter at @crewof42