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Community groups remain concerned about the case of Marissa Alexander, a woman who was given quite a few years in prison for a situation in which it appeared that she had no other options. Alexander received 20 years in prison after firing warning shots at a man who she believes had come to harm her. No one was hurt, but Alexander was still sent away for a very long time.
The incident took place in 2010 and Marissa says she was simply standing her ground in the state of Florida, where standing your ground appears to be legal. But the judge said he had no choice but to give the woman 20 years in prison, even though she is the mother of three children. The length of the sentence was due to the fact that she’d fired a gun while committing a felony.
Various groups have been fighting for Marissa’s release and say that her case is part of the reason that mandatory minimums should be abolished. They argue that since no one was hurt and she was only trying to protect herself from an abusive husband, her actions were entirely justified.
The petition, which is at Change.org, says that Alexander’s sentence was excessive and exceedingly harsh.
It was also suggested by the judge in this case that Ms. Alexander “could have found some other way to flee the home,” yet the law states that “those who feel threatened, have no duty to retreat,” further lending to the ambiguity of this judgment against Ms. Alexander.
Something has to be done regarding all women who defend themselves against their abusers. Too often they receive little understanding and sympathy from the systems supposedly set up to protect them. Women who are victims of domestic violence need a voice, and it is our intent to be that voice for Marissa and any other potential victim of domestic violence or any other form of injustice.