Wasn’t Alexander Just Serving 20 Years Concurrently for the Same Charges? In a case where no one was shot or injured, Florida prosecutor Angela Corey has announced she intends to effectively triple the punishment in the case of Marissa Alexander, a woman with an abusive husband. Alexander asserts she fired a warning shot into a wall during a confrontation with her husband Rico Gray in 2012. Her two children were present. No one was hit.
Last year Alexander began serving a 20 year sentence until a judge granted a new trail.
Prosecutor Corey now says that if she is able to convict Alexander for a second time on three counts of “aggravated assault with a firearm,” Alexander will have to serve the sentences consecutively. That would make the sentence sixty years instead of twenty. Alexander’s original sentence — 20 years — ran concurrent. Why Corey is now deciding to change the charges to three separate 20 year sentences to run consecutively is unknown.
Prosecutor Corey has also handled the cases of George Zimmerman, who shot teen Trayvon Martin to death in February 2012, and Michael Dunn, who shot 17-year-old Jordan Davis to death in November 2012. Corey’s office failed to win a murder conviction in either the Dunn or Zimmerman cases.
Decisions by the prosecutor on which charges to bring, how the cases are tried, whether Florida’s “stand your ground” law is applied and whether sentences are to run consecutively or concurrently are all within Corey’s control.
Alexander was not granted “stand your ground” immunity in her case.
“A black woman’s fear was rendered invisible or impossible, as was the case in Marissa Alexander’s Stand Your Ground hearing,” noted supporters of Alexander after the Dunn trial.
Marissa Alexander had already been serving 20 years for three counts of “aggravated assault with a firearm” concurrently on the same charges. It’s also noteworthy that Corey had the choice between charging simple “aggravated assault” and “aggravated assault with a firearm” — the charge “with a firearm” carries a 20 year mandatory minimum. Legal experts point out that Corey could have charged Alexander with “reckless discharge of a firearm” as well. That charge carries no mandatory minimum sentence.
Three legal experts in Florida contacted by Politic365 say that Corey is charging Alexander with three counts of “aggravated assault with a firearm” with the full understanding of what the implication of that specific charge carries.
“It’s my understanding that state attorney’s have nearly have unlimited discretion in their charging decisions,” said Greg Newburn a top expert on mandatory minimum sentencing policy and the Florida Project Director for Families Against Mandatory Minimums.
Corey did not prosecute Zimmerman until 45 days after he shot Trayvon Martin to death and only after national and local protest spiked by widespread media attention. Alexander, who had no prior criminal record and holds a masters degree, has already served more time in jail for shooting a wall than Zimmerman has for killing another person.
In a statement, Corey asserts that each count is for the three people in the room when Alexander fired into a wall. She also said she is, “committed to seeking justice for two African American children and their father who did not deserve to be shot at.”
“Bull,” said Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) said during an interview this morning with Roland Martin on NewsOne Now.
“This particular father in his deposition said that he beat and abused five women, the state attorney is basically the worst in the whole state,” Rep. Brown said. Brown called Corey’s well known practice of prosecuting juveniles as felons “the new slavery” in Florida.
“On the day that this incident occurred Marissa Alexander had a restraining order on her husband,” Brown added.
Marissa Alexander’s case is scheduled to begin in July.