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Stand Your Ground: The Case of Marissa Alexander

Updated on April 19, 2012

Do women have the same protection under SYG?

Unequal treatment under Stand Your Ground

Proponents of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Laws say that the laws are aimed at protecting those who would protect themselves from harm, however, that is not the case in the story of Marissa Alexander. Alexander is facing a mandatory 20 years in jail for firing a warning shot at her husband. Her family has started a petition.

Alexander reported to police that her husband had abused her for years. On the night in question, they had an altercation and she retrieved a firearm. There were children present. Alexander says that her husband lunged at her and she fired the weapon in the air to stop him. She was later arrested for aggravated assault and per her attorney claimed that she was standing her ground.

The DA offered her a plea deal and she refused because she felt that she would be acquitted, but she was convicted. Now, she sits in jail awaiting sentencing. The irony in this case is that Florida has a Battered Spouse Law on the books that may have protected Alexander, but her attorney chose not to use it.

Critics of Stand Your Ground say that the law did not protect Alexander the way it protected so many others, including George Zimmerman. Some say that there are racial overtones because Alexander is African-American. The other issue that is being raised is the right of a woman to protect herself from an abusive spouse. Are women allowed to use these laws to protect themselves or are they going to be held to a different standard?

Alexander did not shoot anyone. No one was injured when she fired her weapon, so why is she in jail? Her case helps legitimize the feeling that Stand Your Ground does not mean equal protection for all citizens to stand up to their attackers or abusers.

Alexander has three children. One of them was born premature and is still in the hospital. Her husband had a history of abusing her. She had a protection order against him. Yet, in the state of Florida, she did not have the right to fire a simple warning shot to stop the abuse. The judge thought that she could have left through a front or back door. Yet, stand your ground says you have no duty to retreat. You have a right to stand your ground against an attacker.

The Stand Your Ground statutes are vaguely written and subjectively used in Florida and Marissa Alexander is in jail for it. We need to rethink these laws and take them off the books if they cannot be changed to protect all citizens. We need justice for Marissa Alexander. Send her back home to her children.


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    • habueld profile image

      Bruce Bean 5 years ago from Riverside, CA

      Richard he had to accept 20 years. That's the law.

    • profile image

      RichardMelb 5 years ago

      This sounds like abuse of process to me...if a prosecutor would accept 3 years outside court, but seeks 20 years in it....there is an inconsistency which should not be sanctioned by law..judges should try harder to find holes in these cases. Florida justice system (excuse the oxymoron) looking pretty sick to me....

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Thank you, that is why I detest the rightwinger, we give Zimmerman a medal for killing a black teen under questionable circumstances, while a black woman is sentenced to 20 years with far greater justification for the need to defend herself yet no one was injured and she has no criminal record.

      Yes, the rightwinger is both racist and sexist and to not see that how the law is being misinterpted against one person with vastly different results for one over another must give one pause to question this law and others like it.

    • profile image

      Bunson 5 years ago

      And people wonder why theres so much hate in the world

    • profile image

      theresa 5 years ago

      marissa shouldn,t be in jail if haven,t stand her ground she might be dead she only fired a shot in the air free marissa so she can go home to her children.

    • profile image

      Support for Marissa Alexander 5 years ago

      Please join her support page on Facebook as well! The petition is on the page, along with news updates and a letter written by Marissa for her supporters.

    • profile image

      Keeping it real 5 years ago

      I did research on this case and after reading it marissa alexander is right where she supposed to be

    • profile image

      Patricia 5 years ago

      Send her home. All she did is help save her life. What you wood done if you seen your life tripe. Please send this mother home to her children

    • profile image

      alexsaez1983 5 years ago

      She might as well have just blown her husband's head off. It's not like a scumbag like him would be missed by the world.

    • ElderYoungMan profile image

      Elderyoungman 5 years ago from Worldwide

      Thank you for posting this. I think we all understand what is going on here and what big Bush meant by the New World Order. They have invalidated the constitution, bill of rights and civil rights and it is all up in everyone's face now. Great hub. Voted up.

    • profile image

      Marie 5 years ago

      I think the Law has failed her. She had enough evidence in her favor of abuse. Why should she leave and remove the children out of their stable environment. Zimmerman's case is totally different from Marissa Alexander. The attacker has to come at you to stand your ground. Zimmerman was following the boy. Marissa's abuser was coming at her (see the difference).