Over 1,000 days in jail. In the case of Marissa Alexander, a woman who was facing over twenty years in prison for shooting drywall, there has been a plea deal. Alexander will agree that she is guilty on three counts of aggravated assault. She may be released in January. The next hearing in her case will be on January 27.
The case around Alexander, a battered wife who shot a round into a wall to ward off abuse from her husband, has received national headlines. The prosecutor in the case, Angela Corey, was determined to impose the mandatory minimums sentence on Alexander for discharging a weapon with three people in the room, even though she hit no one — Alexander was facing over sixty years in prison.
At the same time Alexander’s case was moving through the courts in the same jurisdiction in Florida where the case against George Zimmerman was being tried for the murder of Trayvon Martin, controversy arose about why it was that Zimmerman was evoking “stand your ground” after killing Martin, yet Alexander’s situation wasn’t considered a “stand your ground” case.
Alexander has already spent 1,030 in jail as her saga continued. The plea deal includes three years in jail and she will get credit for time already served but must spend another 65 days in jail. Many activists and public officials had rallied around Alexander against what they believed to be over-prosecution in her case. Those who spoke out in support for Alexander included Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) of Jacksonville, who once confronted the prosecutor in the case, Angela Corey, after a court hearing on Alexander’s case.
Greg Newburn, Florida’s State Director of Families Against Mandatory Minimums.
“From the beginning, Marissa Alexander’s case was a glaring example of the unintended consequences inherent to mandatory minimum laws. While there was disagreement about Alexander’s guilt or innocence, no one outside the State Attorney’s office believed that 60 years in prison—or even the original 20 years—was an appropriate sentence for a first-time offender and a crime where no one was injured,” Newburn said.
“The very fact that the State Attorney’s office offered a plea deal to Alexander suggests that not even they believed a lengthy sentence was appropriate—just useful as leverage in extracting a guilty plea from a woman who sought to defend herself using warning shots,” Newburn added.