Target: Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General
Goal: Demand that prosecutors drop all charges against Marissa Alexander, a domestic violence victim who fired a warning shot and now faces a new trial.
Last year, Marissa Alexander was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. In reality, she was defending herself against her husband, a man who had previously been charged with domestic violence. At the time of the incident, Marissa Alexander had a restraining order issued against her husband and a concealed weapons permit.
When her husband attacked her, Alexander left the house briefly to grab her gun to defend herself. Because she left the house, the jury that tried her refused to consider her situation self-defense. Last month, a state appeals court ruled that the judge in the original case did not explain Marissa Alexander’s defense to the jury appropriately.
As a result, Marissa Alexander was recently released on bail. But her case is far from over. She will be retried. This is not justice. Marissa Alexander was clearly defending herself from a known abuser, and no one was injured during the incident in question. Furthermore, Marissa Alexander is not a threat to anyone. The mandatory sentence of twenty years in jail is excessive. Any sentence is excessive in Marissa Alexander’s case.
The result of her case will set a precedent for how future domestic violence victims are treated when they fight back. Tell Florida prosecutors and the nation as a whole that we stand in solidarity with domestic violence victims. Marissa Alexander has already had to sacrifice too much time dealing with this case, a case that should never have existed in the first place. Do not let her face another trial and potential jail time, too. Urge Florida prosecutors to release Marissa Alexander permanently and drop all charges against her.
Dear Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi,
Marissa Alexander was recently released on bail while she awaits a retrial of her case. Even though she was defending herself against a known domestic abuser, she was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to twenty years in prison. This sentence far exceeds any crime she committed, because she did not commit a crime. She was defending herself and no one was injured. The single shot she fired was a warning shot and yet she received a twenty year sentence.
Now she faces retrial because a state appeals court ruled that the original judge failed to explain Marissa Alexander’s defense to the jury who convicted her. We urge you to immediately drop all charges against Marissa Alexander. She has already spent too much time being tried for her so-called crime. As the victim in this entire situation, she should never have been arrested in the first place, let alone put on trial.
We commend you for releasing Marissa Alexander. That is the first step toward justice. But if Marissa Alexander is retried and still found guilty of aggravated assault when she was clearly defending herself, the Florida criminal justice system will be setting a dangerous precedent for domestic violence victims everywhere. Domestic violence victims already are afraid to come forward and confide in the police system. Do not make this difficult process more intimidating or frightening for any potential victims. Give Marissa Alexander back her life today. Release her permanently and drop all charges.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Steve Rhodes via Flickr.