“Stand your ground” means what, exactly?

13 July 2013

Oh, this story. A woman in Florida (and mother of three very young children, one of which she’d given birth to nine days before this incident) who fired a warning shot at her husband and his two sons inside her home — a man against whom she had already filed a restraining order due to alleged abuse — has been sentenced to 20 years for attempted murder.

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In the midst of the ongoing George Zimmerman trial this ruling feels particularly vicious — a case in which the aggressor killed a teenage boy, only to be released uncharged by the police. (Until public outrage, anyway. His fate is now in the hands of the jury.)

I fail to understand how this case was decided against Marissa Alexander. How does a restraining order not protect a woman from an allegedly abusive husband? Why is this not a simple case of self-defense, much less “stand your ground”? Was she supposed to wait until he beat her, then report him to the police? How can anyone find this woman guilty of the crime of attempted murder? And considering that she had given birth nine days previous, did no one consider that her need to defend herself would have been especially heightened? Did she have the worst lawyer ever?

I’m certain Alexander’s case is complex. I’m sure there are details I don’t understand from the coverage. But I don’t see how anyone can call the upshot “justice.”

In the wake of seeing A Girl and a Gun, this seems particularly apt. The reality of vindictive juries and mandatory minimum sentences like in Florida means that this woman will lose 20 years.

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4 Responses to ““Stand your ground” means what, exactly?”

  1. phylly3 Says:

    Seriously? 20 years for a warning shot? She might as well have killed him!

  2. JustMeMike Says:

    And George Zimmerman was acquitted last night. On a side note – the Zimmernan case was decided by a 6 person jury. That seemed strange to me.

  3. Hattie Says:

    Yes, what is this six person thing?

    • Didion Says:

      All bad, if you ask me. I want to give the jury the benefit of the doubt, but how is this not manslaughter? If Marissa Alexander’s warning shot was “attempted murder”?


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