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Does Florida Lift Its Racist Skirts Again?

May 12, 2012

The “Stand Your Ground Law” apparently only applies to whites in Florida.  This law that contradicts the “Stand Your Ground Law” is, the “10-20-Life Law”.  Is this a a product of “institutional racism”?  Does it all depend on who the victim is and who the perpetrator is?  Florida depends on some pretty questionable laws, some are contradictory, regarding the use of a firearm.  The prosecutor claims because there were children in the area, the most severe law must be applied.  The “stand your ground” was not considered because Marissa returned to the house to get her car keys? WOW!  Did the court rule on the claim that Marissa had been threatened by her husband?  If indeed she was threatened, can it be proved?  Would a white woman be required to prove that threat?  Are all the questions really answered?  Is a 20 year sentence really called for in this specific case?  Florida’s laws are glaringly vague about Domestic Violence.  Sure, Florida has agencies and organizations that address Domestic Violence, but the laws are very poor. Marissa Alexander had no prior criminal record.  Why does this feel wrong?

Marissa Alexander gets 20 years for firing warning shot after Stand Your Ground defense fails

Florida woman sentenced to 20 years in controversial warning shot case  (CNN)– Saying he had no discretion under state law, a judge sentenced a Jacksonville, Florida, woman to 20 years in prison Friday for firing a warning shot in an effort to scare off her abusive husband.

CNN STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A judge issues a 20-year sentence to woman who fired warning shot inside her house
  • Judge James Daniel says he had no choice in the sentence
  • Marissa Alexander says she fired the warning shot to fend off her abusive husband
  • A congresswoman confronts prosecutor Angela Corey after the sentencing

Marissa Alexander Sentenced: Florida Mom Who Shot At Abusive Husband Gets 20 Years In Prison

Apparently the judge had offered a plea bargain that would have resulted in a three-year prison sentence, but Alexander chose to take the case to a jury trial, where a conviction would carry a mandatory sentence under a Florida law known as “10-20-life.” Marissa Alexander unsuccessfully tried to use Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law to derail the prosecution, but a jury in March convicted her of aggravated assault after just 12 minutes of deliberation.  The headlines scream racism.  But, if you and I were not on the jury and did not actually hear both sides of the story, the cry of racism may be a tactic.  I do agree that 20 years is absolutely nonsensical.  The most I can live with would be reckless endangerment, only because there were children in the vicinity.

WIKI:  The 10-20-Life law (Florida Statute 775.087) is a mandatory minimum sentencing law in the U.S. state of Florida. It primarily regards the use of a firearm during the commission of a forcible felony.[1] The law’s name comes from a set of three basic minimum sentences it provides for. An ongoing public service announcement campaign has accompanied the law since its passage under the slogan, “Use a gun, and you’re done.”[2][3][4]

WIKI: STAND YOUR GROUND LAW for Florida  2011 Florida Statutes CHAPTER 776 JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE[22]

776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.

776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.

(1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:

(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and
(b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.

(2) The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:

(a) The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person; or
(b) The person or persons sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used; or
(c) The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or
(d) The person against whom the defensive force is used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter was a law enforcement officer.

(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

(4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person’s dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.

(5) As used in this section, the term:

(a) “Dwelling” means a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night.
(b) “Residence” means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest.
(c) “Vehicle” means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.

776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.

(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.

(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

(3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).

776.041 Use of force by aggressor. —The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:

(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or

(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:

(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

Florida has a pretty sad Domestic Violence law … but they do have an Office of Domestic Violence Program, and a Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-500-1119 – 

Florida’s definition of Domestic Violence:  Commonly associated with a fight between a husband and a wife, domestic violence actually includes a range of criminal offenses committed by one family member against another.

Domestic Violence occurs when a family member injures or commits any violent offense against another family member. Some examples are:

Prevention and Referral Services Office of Domestic Violence Program that includes information for the Domestic Violence Center Certification Laws, Rules, and more, because of Capital Improvement Grants?

Past Capital Improvement Grant Awards

Laws and Requirements: 65H-1, Florida Administrative Code,   Sections 39.901-39.908, Florida Statutes,   Section 90.5036, Florida Statutes

Certified Domestic Violence Program List

Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Website

But actual LAW!   Florida criminal Laws – the law of assault & battery. NOTE: Domestic Violence often involves a charge of Aggravated Assault (Domestic Violence), Assault (Domestic Violence), Aggravated Battery (Domestic Violence) or Battery (Domestic Violence) – here is a sample of the actual statutes:

Defenses to Domestic Violence

Defending domestic violence cases are difficult, because deeper issues usually caused the altercation in the first place. These include:

  • Alcohol, Drug, or Substance Abuse,
  • Child Custody Disputes,
  • Injunctions Proceedings,
  • Mental Health Issues
  • Pending Divorce, or
  • Spiteful Family Members.

None of the articles I have read focus on why the Domestic Violence issue was not a factor in Marissa’s defense. But a jury agreed with prosecutors that the law didn’t apply because she left during the argument, got a gun and returned to confront him, WJXT reported. Rico Gray had been arrested twice on domestic battery allegations, but Alexander had been charged with domestic battery four months after the shooting, Jacksonville.com reported.

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