Stand Your Ground

April 25, 2012 § 8 Comments

I recently read this article on CNN about Marissa Alexander who is currently sentenced to 20 years of jail because she fired a shot in the air to scare off her abusive husband. She was unable to appeal for the “stand your ground” law which allows for an individual to use force as means for self defense when there is a reasonable threat without obligation to retreat first. Her husband, Rico Gray found that she was texting her ex-husband and threatened to kill her so she hid in the garage and found a pistol and without aiming it to him, she fired it in the air to scare him off. In his testimony, he did have a past record off domestic violence and he admitted to laying hands on five other women previously. However, Marissa was convicted guilty for 20 years in jail within 12 minutes of trial. In her interview, Marissa asked, “Other defendants have used it. What’s so different about my situation that it doesn’t apply to me?”.

The article states that the reason being may be due to race. The President of the Jacksonville NAACP believes that there is a “double standard” when it comes to cases of violence when it comes to African American and White cases. It appalls me that this woman who fired a shot at nobody was sentenced to 20 years of jail and could not repeal for the “stand your ground” law because of her race. All she was doing was trying to defend herself against a man who was 100 pounds heavier than she was. It also shocks me that she was deemed guilty in 12 minutes which did not give her a fair chance to present her case. This blatant racial discrimination in the justice system is shocking and saddening that it does not protect domestically abused women of a certain race. There needs to be more laws put in place to protect minority women who suffer from domestic violence.


§ 8 Responses to Stand Your Ground

  • Tiffin says:

    This is appalling. We live in a country where everyone deserves due process. Marissa was denied this with a trial lasting only 12 minutes. It is shameful that she was not able to use the “stand your ground” law because of her race. What does someone’s race have to do with self defense? All women can be victims of domestic violence. I don’t know how we can justify limiting the ability of women to a fair trial due to their race. The fact that Marissa shot a gun into the air to protect herself and was sentenced to 20 years seems unreal. We need to reevaluate our justice system if scenarios like this are able to occur.

  • futurepublicist2013 says:

    Wow is my first response. This is so absurd. 20 years for just shooting a gun into the air and not killing anyone? Then to top this appalling news it may be because of her race. Unbelievable! America is supposed to be this golden place of happiness and freedom with a slice of justice and a woman who tries to defend herself, who also should have the right to bear arms, is given the amount of years behind bars as she has is just bamboozling. It makes a person wonder was there something else to the story that we don’t know because this injustice just cannot be real.

  • This is outrageous! The main message in this article is that black women do not deserve to be protected or have equal rights. Twelve minutes is all this poor lady got, and the obviously racist jury did not even give her a chance. I do not understand how they could remotely even charge her with twenty years for just firing a gun at nothing. Second of all, if this would have happened to a white woman, the man would be in jail for twenty years not her! The justice system is enabling men to harm their wives and get away with it. It is horrifying that this woman protected her life and is nowb being punished for it. It is not fair to her or anyone that this could happen to in the future.

  • qsthomson says:

    Two things come to mind after hearing about this gross situation:

    Privilege-why, in 2012, are women, and women of color, STILL being treated as second-class citizens?? How could someone like George Zimmerman be simply bailed out why she is sentenced to 20 years?! Goes to show how a capitalist society is not a quality society. Clearly the fruits of labor only benefit the wealthiest and most privileged.

    Gun laws-another reason why guns should be outlawed in the first place. I wish self-defense could be used in other ways than with guns, but maybe I’m a bit biased?

  • bibliogay says:

    The universal outrage of this woman’s issue should be something that more people have access to. Within twelve minutes of a trial, can a person with such a case honestly be sentenced? Of course not; there’s no honesty in that verdict at all. When paralleled against other cases of women defending against abuse, or even instances of white women being violent, there is more time and consideration in any verdict that they implement. An African-American woman merely shoots into the air and, apparently, her proficiency with a firearm is enough to put her away for nearly 1/5 of her life.

  • taryngerson says:

    I think that this article touches on so many things that we have addressed in class that are so important. One of the issues is that she is a woman, she is also a black woman, and I would also be interested in what type of social class she is from because I feel that all of these factors came into play with the verdict. It would be interesting to me to see what would have come about if she was a white upper class woman and what the judgement would have been. When it comes down to it she is a woman trying to defend her self and just shot a gun into the air to try and scare him… This is clearly self defense when he has verbally threatened her and has attacked women before this as well.

  • akugler says:

    This makes me sad and extremely ashamed of my country. I do not understand how people can wrap their minds around putting a woman in jail for this long over this act. How do they okay it within themselves? How do they make sense of this? It really makes you think about the different privileges that you do have from your race, social class, or gender. And I truly feel for those who are affected from these horrible ideas that our society has created.

  • Thank you, Rachel, for bringing this to the attention of the class. There are so many current events that we don’t get to discuss in class, and this is absolutely important to consider.

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