because 'florida'

Florida Judge Denies New Trial To Lady Standing Her Ground, But Totally Not Because She’s Black

How is this case different from all other Stand Your Ground cases?Dear reader, in the course of going about your day today did you somehow manage to forget that we are inching ever closer towards some sort of Handmaid’s Tale style dystopian nightmare run by sexist racist morons? First, let us congratulate you, and then shake you out of your reverie by telling you about the latest horrible thing that has happened in (duh) Florida.

No, not banning Fifty Shades of Grey from public libraries for being too porny, this other thing where a Florida judge has decided that there will be no new trial for this nice mother of two, Marissa Alexander, who will serve her 20 years in jail for shooting in the direction of her abusive husband, which she did because she couldn’t get to her cell phone or escape because she had run away from him into the garage only to discover that the garage door was broken.

Well lady, Florida would like to remind you that you could have escaped your attacker “through the front or back door,” and also? Going back in the house armed with a gun (where she presumably would have had to go in order to escape through the front or back door, but whatever, we didn’t expect this to make any sense and so far we’re not disappointed) is not “consistent with someone in genuine fear of his or her life.”

In Florida, as it turns out, being in “genuine fear of your life” means that you’re white and your attacker is black, so clearly that was her first mistake. Also, if you really want to Stand Your Ground you have to call the police only to ignore their instructions anyway, so there’s that. And crucially, it doesn’t say anywhere if her husband was wearing a hoodie when he was threatening to beat her up, which we hear is a relevant aspect of whether or not black men are actually scary.

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It took a jury 12 minutes to find Alexander guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; the judge in that trial did not allow her to cite her husband’s longstanding abuse of her and others, or the state’s Stand Your Ground defense. This is going to shock you, and we know it sounds weird especially since it’s Florida and all, but it’s possible that race was a factor in this decision.

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About the author

Kris E. Benson writes about politics for Wonkette and is pursuing a doctorate in philosophy. This will come in handy for when they finally open that philosophy factory in the next town over. @Kris_E_Benson

View all articles by Kris E. Benson

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174 comments

  1. Barb

    Only 12 minutes to find her guilty? It must have been 2:00 P.M. and the jurors had to make it to the Hometown Buffet for dinner and then home in time for The Golden Girls marathon.

    1. Designer_Rants

      "Hun, how was jury duty?"
      "nom nom nom –eatin'!– nom nom nom"
      "Well, it certainly didn't take long."
      "nom nom nom –she black, shot a gun, case closed– nom nom nom"

    2. OneYieldRegular

      I was once on a jury where the first thing out of one juror's mouth when we got into the deliberations room was, "Well, he's guilty, let's wrap this up. I want to get to lunch."

      One other juror and I glanced at one another, then made sure that we went over every tiny shred of evidence for the next three and a half hours before we'd allow a vote.

      1. Designer_Rants

        Ha! Damn right.

        I was on a jury once and put a guy away for pedophilia, but I kept an open mind even though there was a video taped… I wouldn't call it a confession… but then he took the stand and washed the "Reasonable Doubt" away. Still, we deliberated for at least 45min/hour. People need to remember that when taking away another's freedom, there better be a good reason for it.

        1. tessiee

          "I kept an open mind [...] he took the stand and washed the "Reasonable Doubt" away [...] when taking away another's freedom, there better be a good reason for it"

          I can think of almost no worse way to ruin someone's life than to *wrongly* convict them of pedophilia.

          1. Designer_Rants

            Or even wrongly accuse them of pedophilia. I went into it not wanting to go into it (tried an excuse to get out of duty, but it was rejected). I'm kind of a natural devil's advocate, plus I actually listened when the lawyer told me "innocent until proven guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt." But eventually I started to understand how the guy ended up in a courtroom.

      2. poorgradstudent

        Perfect time for a "Simpsons" reference:

        "Ooooh, jury duty?! I'll see him hang for this!"

        1. not that Dewey

          Homer: What does "sequestered" mean?

          Skinner: If the jury is deadlocked they're put up in a hotel together so they can't communicate with the outside world.

          Homer: What does "deadlocked" mean?

          Skinner: It's when the jury can't agree on a verdict.

          Homer: Uh huh. And "if"?

          Skinner: A conjunction meaning "in the event that" or "on condition that".

          Homer: So _if_ we don't all vote the same way, we'll be _deadlocked_ and have to be _sequestered_ in the Springfield Palace Hotel

          Patty: That's not going to happen, Homer.

          Jasper: Let's vote. My liver is failing.

    3. DemmeFatale

      The time I was on jury duty, none of the evidence mattered because the other weak-ass jurors did whatever the domineering older male juror told them to.
      They didn't like one of the lawyers because she was of Indian or Pakistani descent, and didn't express this overtly (or I would have told the judge).
      After the trial, when I could speak to them, I shared this information with the lawyers, and I hope I caused trouble.

      1. Boojum

        Too late, then. Sorry. Did they poll the jury?

        That's when the lawyers get to have sex with the cute ones. Little known part of the "civic duty".

        1. DemmeFatale

          Yes, they polled the jury. But this was a civil trial in NY. Half the jurors.
          The lawyer told me I was the "brain anchor." (Whatever that is! If it means the other jurors were freakin' morons, he was right.)
          Bummer for him, there were no cute ones. Just Archie Bunker and his doormat wives!

  2. Lucidamente1

    In Florida, as it turns out, being in “genuine fear of your life” means that you’re white and your attacker is black.

    I think you mean and some other person is black.

    1. tessiee

      Yeah, *any* other person — the guy mowing his lawn, the lady at the dry cleaner's, etc.

    2. MaxUdargo

      You're only in "genuine fear of your life" if you're accosting a black guy who's armed with a bag of candy and you only brought a gun.

  3. dyedwool

    It distresses me that I officially hate my country now. With FL being the primary cause. Today. Other days it's AZ. Sometimes MS. Others it's AL. And so on…

        1. dyedwool

          This is why the Good Lord invented the ellipsis — so my fingers wouldn't get tired typing out all the sorry states vying for #1 Shit Stain on the Country.

          1. Designer_Rants

            I propose creating a map and coloring certain regions based on a color spectrum that goes from "red" to "blue", red being the "shittiest people" regions.

      1. BerkeleyBear

        And the normally slightly saner North Carolina losing its mind over gays.

    1. ElPinche

      Don't forget my state of Texas. That's where they manufacture racist white people (#1 state export!)

      1. sharethegrief

        If Rick Perry sat on that jury, he would have found Alexander guilty in 2 minutes. A 3rd minute would be…oops.

    2. Jukesgrrl

      And so on …

      And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo-bee.
      There is a long hair that doesn't like the short hair
      For bein' such a rich one that will not help the poor one.
      Different strokes for different folks,
      And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo-bee.
      Ooooh, sha sha,
      WE GOT TO LIVE TOGETHER.

      By Sly (of the Family Stone), currently broke and living in his car

      1. tessiee

        "Different strokes for different folks"

        Or, as a friend's mom used to say, "different tunes for different loons".

    3. Negropolis

      Don't forget Michigan, where local democracy can be put on hold at the sheer whim of the governor!

      1. dyedwool

        Well, I was feeling better after a couple glasses of fine cabernet. Emphasis on WAS.

  4. Schmannnity

    I hope she learned her lesson; if she had had a concealed weapons permit with the weapon on her, she wouldn't have had to go back in the house.

    1. sullivanst

      Because she coulda just shot the crap out of the garage door until it fell off, or something?

      1. Schmannnity

        No. Cynically, her big mistake was retreating to the garage, retrieving a gun, and going back into the house. If she had had the gun on her and just started blasting, then Florida's "shoot first, hope to kill, and ask (answer) questions later law" would have worked as presently intended.

        1. sullivanst

          Her biggest mistake was getting involved with this asshole in the first place.

          More cynically still, her worst mistake on that day appears to have been allowing him to survive and testify.

          But yeah, if you believe her story, and I don't see any good reason not to, she didn't go to the garage to get the gun, she went to the garage intending to drive away.

        2. Biel_ze_Bubba

          Florida's "shoot first, hope to kill, and ask (answer) questions (if any) later law"

          Just a minor fix.

  5. coolhandnuke

    There is no shades of gray justice in Florida. No abstracts…just absolutes in stark black and white. If your black, you have absolutely no chance of the rights afforded whites.

  6. sbj1964

    The madness in Flori-DUH is amazing.First Al Gore,hoodies,Now this? I blame Mickey Rat.

  7. angerbear

    Congratulations, black men of Florida! You now have higher legal status than one other group: black women of Florida! Enjoy your enhanced rights, and happy hunting.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      To be fair, in states like Floriduh, the garage is the husband's "ground". If he'd plugged her in the garage, no problem.

  8. EtchySketchy

    12 minutes. If a jury doesn't make a decision within 30 minutes you get 20 years in your not-choice of privatized prison cell completely free. You're Welcome, non-white Floridians.

  9. nounverb911

    I was participating in the communist infiltration of Allen West's district last week and I felt afraid every time I saw a "We Miss Bush" bumper sticker.

  10. Radiotherapy

    If this wasn't such a disturbing story I would make a back door joke.

    And also, to the new guy, Kris, I'm impressed, this post has a very Laynesque quality.

    1. DustBowlBlues

      I read only as far as the K and thought it was Kristen. Thank you for pointing out that this is a new guy. Welcome to wonkette, whoever you are. I must say, however, that I miss Jr. wonkette and am beginning to suspect that name was just something Ken made up.

      If you can't trust the wonket, then what as I to believe in? That's pretty philosophical. Yay for me. I have to prepare a lesson for Sunday School tomorrow so perhaps we'll discuss this. The K-1st grade crowd should have some insights.

    1. poorgradstudent

      While the melting of the ice caps won't turn us all into urine-drinking mermen and pirates, even the more optimistic estimates of what would happen if it's not reversed hold that most of Florida will be underwater, so…silver lining!

      1. HistoriCat

        Silver lining? That just means all of those idiots will relocate to other states!

        1. Dudleydidwrong

          That won't happen. They say that turkeys are so stupid they will hold their heads up in a rain storm and drown. Floridians are the same way. They'll stay right to the end. Their bodies might float with the Gulf Stream but that's Britain's problem.

  11. ifthethunderdontgetya

    It took a jury 12 minutes to find Alexander guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; the judge in that trial did not allow her to cite her husband’s longstanding abuse of her and others, or the state’s Stand Your Ground defense.

    "Stand Your Ground" not operational while Blah.
    ~

  12. Pithaughn

    the original name just would not fit on a bumper sticker but more accrately describes the intent of the law : the for sure will encourage the sales of ammo, fire arms and fees at indoor shooting ranges act.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      Is Rick Scott's wife branching out from Floriduh's booming drug-testing-of-blahs industry? She has this amazing sixth sense for where the money's going to be.

  13. owhatever

    The jury filed into the little room. The foreman said, "Do the white thing." Twelve minutes flat.

    1. Fukui-sanYesRadio

      They'd decided within fifteen seconds, but you know, free coffee and cookies.

  14. Fluffy_Kitties

    Silly hoodies, everyone knows Stand Your Ground is REDNECK code for License to Kill.

    1. Negropolis

      Honestly, we should start calling it the "License to Kill Law" to really drive this home. None of this Orewellian "Stand Your Ground" bullshit.

  15. ttommyunger

    http://www.smirkingchimp.com/node/42983 I only wish this were an isolated case. This link is a 45 minute audio of a talk given by the first black Secret Service Agent assigned to the Presidential Detail. He outlines details of the systematic cover-up surrounding the assassination of JFK. I was a cop in KC Metro at that time. I have my own first-hand stories about the Secret Service and their post-assasination hijinks. I still remember names and can give dates and places, but I was never dangerous enough for them to go after. The truth will probably never come out, I just want them to know I'm not stupid.

    1. DustBowlBlues

      "I just want them to know I'm not stupid."

      Posting…
      We could have told you that.

  16. CivicHoliday

    Florida judges hate moms. True story: a friend of mine fled an abusive marriage two years ago, and last week when they finalized their divorce proceedings in a FL court, the judge gave full custody to the dad (who admitted to several bouts of violence and had several DUIs) because he "expressed regret" and also because she "had a history of mental illness" (because, shock of shock, she was diagnosed with depression briefly took medication after fleeing).

    1. Steverino247

      This is why there's an appellate system. Your friend needs to appeal that bullshit. And yes, I know it's expensive.

    2. Barb

      I appreciate that your friend found the inner strength to run from her abuser. I hope that she stays strong and that justice will be served in her case. I wish her the best.

      1. CivicHoliday

        Thanks guys. She will appeal but it does suck all around. So damn common too – be nice if the House could just buck up and pass VAWA

        1. horatiusbridges

          The same House with a majority leader Eric Cantor in it? The ball-less wonder who admits his own party has a jewy-jew-jew problem?

    3. tessiee

      Part 1

      "the judge gave full custody to the dad"

      This is something I've never understood — not that *some* dads might not be OK custodial parents — but that so many guys who are crap husbands and fathers sue for custody. Haven't any of them ever heard the saying, "beware of what you wish for; you just might get it"?

      At least half a dozen single moms I know who share custody with their exes tell me horror stories of dads who don't pay child support, dads who leave the kids with their moms or sisters (always a female relative; I guess a guy's pecker would shrivel up and fall off if he had to be alone with a kid for more than 15 minutes) on visitation days and then leave for hours, who park the kids in front of the TV on visitation days and then leave for hours, dads who bitch and moan because the new wifelet doesn't want the kids from the first marriage in the house that they used to live in but she now considers hers, etc. etc. etc.

    4. tessiee

      Part 2:

      What do they think, that they can't handle having the kid(s) two or three days a week and paying whatever they feel like, but it's somehow going to be LESS trouble to have the kids living there all the time and pay for ALL the day to day expenses?

      But then, I don't have kids, so what do I know?

    5. Callyson

      JFC…my best to her and the kids, and I hope the appeal goes well.

      If the kids are old enough, can she afford to get them a cell phone with phone numbers of child abuse hotlines and the police plugged in? Also, perhaps she could alert the schools to keep an eye out for signs of abuse (if that does not mess up her legal case–tell her to check with her attorney first.)

      And maybe this has some useful info:

      http://www.stopfamilyviolence.org/info/custody-ab

      Good luck!

  17. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    did you somehow manage to forget that we are inching ever closer towards some sort Handmaid’s Tale style dystopian nightmare run by sexist racist morons?

    Nope, because I don't live in the South or Arizona.

    1. Negropolis

      Did you not see what happened in 2010? That shit's crept all up inside of us from Maine to Mississippi, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

    2. anniegetyerfun

      I refuse to believe that life could ever be as boring as a Margaret Atwood novel.

  18. sullivanst

    You can't invoke SYG if the "victim" is in their own house. CNN could've mentioned this, but they totally suck.

    OTOH, this is a case where a normal (non-SYG) justified force defense should have prevailed. But, you know, Florida.

    Seems more like your standard misogyny to me than racism. She should've just been remembering why she loved him in the first place while he beat her hopefully only to within an inch of her life. Y'know, because Jesus.

    1. DustBowlBlues

      Excuse, but as perhaps the Sunday School teacher who is a part of the wonkeratti, I'd like to suggest that has more to do with St. Paul and the fucked up shit in Leviticus.

    1. Jukesgrrl

      I think the universe tried to cut off America's Penis with that mortgage thingee, but so far all it's done is create more poorz who will be treated like Ms. Alexander.

  19. Steverino247

    Here's a fact that should brighten your weekend. The highest point in Florida is only 345 feet above sea level.

    1. Chichikovovich

      I'll be right back. Just want to drive the car around the block a few times. And maybe burn a bit of coal.

      1. not that Dewey

        That's the one I was thinking of. Thank you. I couldn't remember the search terms.

        1. DerrickWildcat

          Today's weird and wonderful Bird fact.
          This guy and gals in hot pursuit are Wilson's Phalaropes http://www.flickr.com/photos/30500320@N06/6995171
          (picture not the greatest due to challenging conditions)
          But here's the fun part. They are a somewhat rare example of Reverse Sexual Dimorphism…that is, the Females are more colorful than the Males. The fun doesn't stop there.., no siree. The Sex roles are also reversed. The Female chooses the Male and does all the fighting, drinking and cussing. After eggs are laid, the Females bolt and the Males sit on them. They have long legs like a shorebird, but they can also swim around like a duck.They will swim around in a circle super fast to create a little water tornado that will bring up stuff up from the bottom of shallow puddles and ponds for them to eat. They are a really weird kind of Bird.

  20. FraAnima

    Please reassure me that there is a path to 270 Electoral votes without the shit-stained state of Florida.

    1. Negropolis

      Well, if it's any help, romney has to win both Florida and Ohio, at the moment, to even have a chance, with the way the map is currently falling.

  21. flamingpdog

    "I got five baby-mamas and I put my hands on every last one of them except for one."

    Ohhh, how special!

    I wonder how more she weighs than him.

  22. Designer_Rants

    Wait… Was her abusive husband carrying Skittles and "gesturing to his waistband"? Cuz that woulda surely got her off the hook for killing him (even thought she DIDN'T kill him) — she wouldn't even have had to appear in court or get any "charges" (unless a pesky national public was outraged enough to cause a big stink). Whenever I murder people, I ALWAYS sprinkle Skittles around the body(s) and just leave. Never a mis-communication. Then again, I'm white.

  23. An_Outhouse

    These are referred to as 'Castle' laws. She doesn't live in a castle, does she? Plus chicks shouldn't have guns, stupid libtards.

  24. gurukalehuru

    12 minutes. That's fucked up. Didn't they ever see 12 angry men?

    Seriously, juries should be required to stay out at least 90 minutes, just to prove they're taking it seriously.

  25. JustPixelz

    The old self-defense law was "duty to retreat" before resorting to deadly force. Then came the "castle doctrine" which was you don't have to retreat from your house. Them came "stand your ground" which is you don't have a duty to retreat at all. Now we're discovering the "Zimmerman doctrine" which is give chase, then shoot.

    One news story explained that Ms Alexander's husband swore in court that he was on his knees begging for his life when she shot him. She told a different version of events. Obviously her mistake was bad aim because dead men tell no tales.

    What stuns me about Republican and NRA and right-wing support for Stand Your Ground laws, is that those laws don't expand gun rights. They expand killing rights. Where is their love the "the sanctity of innocent human life" when a Zimmerman has the legal right to shoot someone with legal impunity?

  26. Steverino247

    Hey, maybe the Lt. Governor of FL, being a woman of color, might put in a good word with Governor Bat Boy and get a pardon or something.

    Wait! What am I thinking?!

  27. SupportMarissa

    Well said!!!!

    She has a Facebook support group. Please join. It's at: http://www.facebook.com/SupportForMarissaAlexande

    There is a petition there that you can sign, plus contact info for the judges and attorneys assigned to this case, and a letter from Marissa to her supporters. There are regular news updates on the page to keep you up-to-date with what's going on.

    Please join, share, and help her out.

    This article is posted there. Great article and so well said!!!

  28. not that Dewey

    OT: If Mitt Romney can be pushed around, intimidated, coerced, co-opted by a conservative radio talk show host in Middle America, then how is he going to stand up to the Chinese? How is he going to stand up to Putin? How is he going to stand up to North Korea if he can be pushed around by a yokel like me? I don’t think Romney is realizing the doubts that this begins to raise about his leadership.

    Willard, you just got played by Brian Fucking Fissure! HA!

  29. Mahousu

    Florida is being perfectly consistent. Yes, there is "Stand Your Ground," but blah people are not entitled to any ground in Florida, so it doesn't apply.

  30. WhatTheHeck

    In compliance with other similar guidelines, Florida Justices have added a new sentencing ruling: SWB – shooting while black.

  31. tessiee

    Marge Simpson: I thought you said the law was powerless.
    Chief Wiggum: Powerless to *help* you, not *punish* you.

  32. Barb

    Two questions:
    Is anyone making and eating crazy good Mexican food tonight?

    Are we live blogging Rebecca getting laid?

    1. Fare la Volpe

      Cheez-Its and Crystal Light margarita mix.

      (The Cheez-Its might be spiked)

  33. TanzbodenKoenig

    Can the other 48 states vote AZ and FL out of the union? We can bring in Canada and Puerto Rico to keep it an even 50 and they can both fuck off and die. Seriously fuck those two states, and I live in TN so I'm somewhat of an expert on both seceding and horribly corrupn and inept state governments.

  34. user-of-owls

    Well Florida's evidently got tone thing going for it. Lady Justice down there has perfect 20/20 vision.

  35. user-of-owls

    I sure hope poor Fourth Judicial Circuit Judge James H. Daniel is not hectored by boisterous phone calls.

    That would absolutely be the worst possible outcome in this situation.

  36. Jukesgrrl

    I actually heard a panel of white people on CNN discussing how this absurd injustice was brought on by Ms. Alexander's refusal to accept the five years she was offered in a plea bargain. They weren't debating the insanity of someone shooting a bullet into HER OWN CEILING getting five or twenty years, rather HER insanity for not taking the embracing the lesser sentence. Seriously.

    And Kris E. Benson, whomever you are, good job on the article. A lot more balanced than anything offered on the nation's largest cable news network.

    1. Fukui-sanYesRadio

      So she got an extra fifteen years for "pissing off law enforcement"

      Somehow that doesn't seem to jibe with what most people would regard as justice.

  37. criminogenic

    So she shot near him and she gets 20 years gtfo!

    Kafka would be impressed.

  38. NYNYNYjr

    20 years for shooting at an abusive spouse? Sounds like her husband was white or hispanic. Or asian.

  39. poorgradstudent

    I remember when I first saw the story. I just skimmed through it, and thought it was of course horrible and ridiculous.

    Then I went back later and noticed the small detail that she didn't even shoot the guy. By that point I was on the verge of a Carrie-esque roaring rampage.

    1. Designer_Rants

      Can you do that thing with your mind where the doors close and people get electrocuted? Cuz that would maybe be useful for avenging… if avenging is useful.

      1. poorgradstudent

        I keep hoping that one day I'll read something on this site that will piss me off so much I'll suddenly GAIN those powers, but so far no such luck.

  40. __kth__

    Prosecutors are judges and juries (actual judges are all former prosecutors, actual juries just rubber stamp prosecutors' cases) now, and who goes to jail and who gets to skate is entirely a matter of prosecutorial "discretion". (sorry for the snark fail)

  41. DahBoner

    Silly! These laws are designed to help people.

    You know, White People.

    Next thing you'll know, you liberals will want laws to help cattle, swine and Negros…

  42. stif888

    Looks like these 2 Florida Circuit Court Judges are POLITICAL HACKS with a RACIST BENT of MIND. If George Zimmerman who had a previous record of assaulting a police officer and served jail time is given bail on a second degree murder charge, then Floridians will pay as years go by. Next KKK, CCC, Skin Heads, NAZIs, Bigots, Haters, and other anti-social elements would start establishing their presence in Florida, resulting in Florida becoming more undesirable. I would not be surprised one bit, if these Judges really hate blacks and colored folks.

Comments are closed.