We Spleen Florida Justice

361218369_da955857cc_zIf you’re going to fire a gun in Florida, make sure you hit your target. At least that seems the only way to evade conviction.

George Zimmerman was found not-guilty in 2013 for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin; Michael Dunn was recently convicted of attempted murder for shooting at three unarmed teenagers, but a hung jury couldn’t convict him of killing unarmed Jordan Davis.

Marissa Alexander didn’t shoot at anyone—she fired warning shots into a wall to scare her estranged, admittedly violent husband during a domestic violence dispute. But she was convicted in 2012 on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and given a 20-year sentence. After a huge public uproar, an appeals court overturned the conviction. Still, despite the reprieve, Florida is not only going to retry her, but prosecutor Angela Corey is asking for a sentence of 60 years in prison, triple the original.

And remember, George Zimmerman remains a free man.

Bruce Zimet, Alexander’s attorney, has said that he is going to fight the proposed sentencing using the Eighth Amendment, calling it cruel and unusual punishment. Helen Gilbert, spokeswoman for Free Marissa Now, said about the retrial:

It’s unimaginable that a woman acting in self-defense, who injured no one, can be given what amounts to a life sentence. This must send chills down the spine of every woman and everyone who cares about a woman and every woman in an abusive relationship.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user lifecreations licensed under Creative Commons 2.0



Lindsey O’Brien is currently a junior studying journalism at Ohio University and interning at Ms. Follow her on Twitter.


  1. Ellen Ehinger says:

    This is an OUTRAGE!!! Can you only be white to use a gun in FL? What a gross miscarriage of justice for this woman.

  2. This is ludicrous! Florida’s legislation really needs to revisit a number of their absurd laws.

  3. Dianne Turner says:


  4. Ursula Mosley says:

    Has Florida gone as mad as George Zimmerman?

  5. I don’t like any of these cases. In my view, all three are guilty of crimes and the media’s split portrayal is a disservice.

    First, I think that Zimmerman and Dunn are guilty. Clearly guilty. Yet, we live in a society where we empower a jury, not the media, to determine guilt.

    As far as Marissa, I think what happened was horrible, but what has been worse has been the superficial and slanted presentation of the facts in her case. What she did was clearly dangerous and a crime. She left the scene and (claims) she couldn’t fully get out of house (there was no evidence the door she just entered from was suddenly jammed) and then fired a gun in the clear direction (not in the ceiling) of her abusive boyfriend and her children. This is and should be a crime.

    I think there is a split of opinion on these cases. Many label the Zimmerman not guilty and Marissa’s guilty as racist. However, if that is true can it not be said that those who argue that Zimmerman is guilt and Marissa is not is the result of sexism? or racism?

    Finally, there is clearly no Eighth Amendment violation if she pled. The focus obviously needs to be on her voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently pleading guilty. That the charges run consecutive vs. concurrent would be a result she knew ahead of time. I think any bald claim that the constitution prevents that type of sentence is grandstanding and does more harm than good

    • TY Fran. I knew there had to be more to Marissa’s story. Her situation has the element of self-defense that Zimmerman and Dunn claimed but were not entitled to. Of the 3, she is the only one who was in danger of actual and serious bodily harm and therein lies an injustice. Why, if Zimmerman and Dunn are not guilty of murder, is Marissa guilty? If what you have said is true, Marissa “copped a plea”, and this is the difference, not her guilt or innocence. Her legal advisor, the judge, an overloaded judicial system and, yes, sexism & racism, have all conspired in her sentencing. This is not justice and should not be allowed to stand.

      • just to be clear…in her first trial, Marissa was convicted by a jury. She did not take a plea. She was convicted and sentenced to twenty years by the judge. That was overturned on appeal b/c of error in the jury charge.

        The plea comment relates to whether in lieu of trial she accepts a plea and gets 60 years. That’s 20 years per alleged victim (her abusive boyfriend, and TWO children). It’s 60 years not because of one attempted victim, but because of three, two of which were children.

        I also note the grouping together of all three cases. NO ONE on this forum has read the entire transcript, listened to all the testimony, and assessed the totality of the evidence. Thus, my real concern is a gang mentality of people jumping to judgment based on slanted, inaccurate, and incomplete summaries from news outlets.

        Still in comparing two trials with not guiltys/hung jury (Zimmerman and Dunn) and Marissa’s first trial (a a guilty), you ask why? See above. None of us know the totality of the evidence. Perhaps Marissa’s case is not as clear cut as the media has previously portrayed (again, she fired a warning shot in the direction/AT people which is different than most media sources). Thus, it is hard to give an answer to why b/c none of us know the cases. No one knows all the facts.

        And to note, we are all guaranteed a jury of our peers. Obviously the juries in all the cases were different so obviously juries do make verdicts that we might not understand, but it is not for us to second guess (especially given our 1% knowledge of the facts)

    • Nicole Howard says:

      If “stand your ground” laws mean exactly that then she is not guilty but self defense & should never have been charged just like Zimmerman wasn’t going to be until there was an outcry! She was in her home, she has a right not to flee her home but to defend it & herself inside it!

    • Rockerbabe says:

      Any woman who is attempting to defend herself against bodily harm is not guilty of anything, except poor judgement when it comes to men. Retrying her is an act of retaliation by the DA and that person should be reprimanded for unprofessional and unconstitutional behavior toward another citizen.

  6. Linnea J Priest says:

    This prosecutor is a creep. She had better hope that what goes around never comes around. She is doing an idiotic thing and wasting money. The inevitable appeals will waste more money. I believe that justice in the state of Florida has gone missing. Florida is off of my list of places to retire.

  7. Kathy Mullins says:

    Ms. Alexander did not cause bodily harm with her actions. Please set her free. She did nothing wrong

  8. Typical “red-state” INjustice. inspired by Koch’s push from local bought and paid for legislators. Illustrates Bill Moyers “Dark Government”.

  9. Huck Finn says:

    First, in response to some of the above comments, yes, something is terribly wrong in Florida. The standard joke was what do you call someone with an IQ above 100 in Florida? Answer: a tourist. Recent criminal justice performances seem to bear out the analysis. Dunn and Zimmerman killed unarmed young men. Ms. Alexander harmed no one, but as a female, she was unable to invoke the infamous “Stand Your Ground” rationale successfully utilized by Zimmerman and Dunn, leading to the obvious conclusion that only white men firing on unarmed minorities, and not women attempting to deter an abusive partner, enjoy the full protection of the law. I might add that the prosecutor who promised to seek an enhanced sentence upon conviction needs a refresher course. Settled law prevents a longer sentence on retrial after a successful appeal. Then again, jurisprudence in the Sunshine State rarely exhibits a working knowledge of the Constitution or case law.

  10. I was a victim of domestic violence. It can scare you to the point of no return. I got tired of getting beat on. I woke up early one morning screaming not to be beat again. I’m so happy not to have had a gun. I probably would have shot him out of fear. Yes I was living in Volusia County, Fl. I don’t think think this young lady deserves the raw deal that is being handed to her. Second question why did her attorney let her plead out to this?

  11. This justice is racial justice, no more words… FREE MARISSA NOWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!
    All the women go together and face the Karen Caper´s husband kills her….right now. Don´t hesitate, it´s a run against death in several cases… The domestic violence is increasing all around the world, only you can start stopping it.
    Make petitions and try to get to the aknowlodgement of these situations to celebrities: angela davis, etc.
    A big hug from Argentina, from a man, me.

  12. In my comment I meant: All the women go together and face the Karen Caper´s husband and go with her attorney to justice before he kills her.

  13. If she were a man she would be free. This is just misogyny!!!

  14. joan Hughes says:

    She did something to stop the situation without killing someone. If Zimmerman is not guilty this lady is definitely not guilty. Let her be free

  15. Imagine if Zimmerman had disengaged from Martin, but then remembered he left his car keys on the ground in front of Martin so he came back THEN shot. Difference?
    The simple fact here is that she left the house, exiting the zone of danger and then voluntarily came back.

  16. Lois Hamilton says:

    This is absolutely NUTS. As a woman I am deeply offended. Florida really needs to get its sh-t together!
    I will never ever go there again!

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