I haven’t been able to cover the Marissa Alexander case much on this blog. For those unfamiliar, Ms. Alexander was convicted and sentenced to 20 years for Aggravated Assault for firing what she claimed was a warning shot in the vicinity of her estranged husband, as well as two of his children. It has drawn comparisons to the Zimmerman case, as self-defense was claimed. Factually, it differed because the testimony was that she went out to the garage to retrieve the gun, before returning and firing it. Her conviction was overturned on appeal for an error in the jury instruction.
A group of Jacksonville pastors are encouraging the State to reopen their original offer, which was for 3 years in prison. Ms. Alexander would not have to serve much more time, thanks to the credit for time she has already served. She had initially rejected the offer, choosing to go to trial on her justified use of force defense. This new push is interesting, as it differs from many outside pundits claiming that she should not have been charged at all. This middle ground suggests that she would be punished for resorting to gun play (which was not found to be justified by the jury at the first trial), but would allow for a much more reasonable punishment than the 20 years mandated by Florida’s 10-20-Life Law. Under recent legal developments, the court must impose each 20 year sentence consecutively, so if she is convicted again of three counts, the court will be obligated to sentence her to 60 years.
The Florida legislature is currently considering a “warning-shot” bill that would be an exception to 10-20-Life, but even if it passes, it may be too late for Alexander. Her trial is set for late July, and she is expected to again argue self-defense / justifiable use of force. The Florida Supreme Court may take up the issue to determine whether the legislature intended to mandate consecutive sentences.
This case is a better example of the unjust sentences that can occur with non-discretionary sentencing than it is an exemplar of Stand Your Ground. The judge found that Stand Your Ground did not apply due to the fact that she returned to the confrontation. Still, outside of prosecutor Angela Corey’s office, it would be hard to demonstrate that 60 years in prison, essentially a life sentence, would be just under the circumstances. Ms. Alexander was in an abusive relationship, had no prior criminal history, and nobody was physically harmed when she discharged the firearm. Ms. Corey’s office has chosen to proceed with the greatest level of charges, and if successful, will mandate 60 years, even if the judge does not want to do it, and regardless of any mitigating circumstances. For that reason, California has been reexamining its notorious three strikes law, in an attempt to prevent costly, unjust sentences.
Posted in 10-20-Life, California, Criminal Law, Florida, Stand Your Ground
Tagged 3-strikes, angela corey, assault, california, firearms, marissa alexander, stand your ground
CBS is reporting Zimmerman has been arrested following a disturbance at his home: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-57612824-504083/george-zimmerman-arrested-following-disturbance-at-fla-home/
George Zimmerman, 11/18/13
UPDATE: CNN is reporting that the arrest is for pointing a shotgun at his girlfriend. Aggravated Assault with a firearm carries a 3 year mandatory minimum sentence in Florida. The cases are notoriously hard to prove, as they are often he said/she said scenarios with little physical evidence. There is also a criminal mischief charge (destruction of property), but there are not any facts available yet.
Adam Jones on Video
Cincinnati Bengal Adam Jones (formerly known as “Pacman”) was acquitted today at a trial on his charge of assault from last June. Shannon Wesley had accused Jones of punching her, but he argued that he was acting in self-defense because she had first dumped a beer on him. The judge agreed, saying she was the initial aggressor with the beer bottle, and found Jones not guilty. The entire incident was captured on video. He faces no further criminal sanctions for the incident.
Two NBC staffers were following up on a burglary story in Lehigh on Wednesday, when a man pulled up, got out of a car, and pulled a gun on them. The man was Jeremiah Mayo. the brother of the burglary victims. He told cops that he had a couple of friends killed recently, and says he was spooked by the burglary the night before. Mayo and his sister claim that while he had the gun out, he didn’t point it at the reporters. Both reporters say he pointed the gun at them until they drove off.
This is going to be a fascinating case. Mayo does not have any local history of violence or felony charges, and he was presumably in lawful possession of the firearm. Due to the break in and friends who had been killed, the fear that the strange vehicle in his driveway could have been someone wanting to hurt him may have been reasonable. Since he didn’t fire the gun, he did not rise to the level of using deadly force. Plus there is a fact question about whether he pointed the gun at the vehicle. His argument will be that he had a reasonable fear of harm, and was justified in using minimal force to scare off the unknown subjects. On the other hand, since the reporters were not making any threats, he may not have been justified.
NBC Reporter Meaghan Smith bio pic
Just because someone is on your property is not legal justification to pull a gun on them. Reporter Meaghan Smith and her cameraman were certainly afraid for their lives and had no ill will prior to being threatened. There has to be some actual threat so as to give someone a reasonable fear of harm. It requires more than having a car parked in your driveway. Mayo may be able to demonstrate that fear due to the crimes that had recently affected him.
I urge everyone that if there is a reason to be afraid, the last thing they should do is confront someone. Mayo may ultimately be found to be justified in his actions, but right now he is out on a $30,000 bail and facing 2 second degree felonies. He would be far better off if he had just kept driving and called the Sheriff’s office.
She warned him it was her turn!
Port Charlotte, FL: Amanda Linscott allegedly pulled a gun on a man while having sex with him in a moving vehicle Tuesday morning. This soap opera case has money for sex and robbery and all sorts of fun stuff that I’m not even going to try to summarize. You must check out the article on NBC-2.com, it’s one in a million. I’ll try to give the story a little color, though.
First off, reading between the lines, there is more to the story than meets the eye. We haven’t heard any of Ms. Linscott’s story, and on its face: it doesn’t add up. It’s dramatic, for sure, but sketchy at best. For instance, how did the man identify that the gun was a .357 Taurus revolver if it’s being pointed at him while he’s driving and having sex. I’ll concede it’s possible, but there are very few people who would have not only the requisite knowledge to identify that specific weapon, much less the wherewithal to do so when it’s being pointed at their head. Perhaps he ID’d it later, we can’t tell from this story. We do know, he’s the kind of guy who pays for sex for women he meets at bars. We know she got a pretty good shiner from him punching her (which is certainly justified if she really had a gun to his head.) There’s a lot of unanswered questions here, and I will try to follow this case in the future.
Lemmesee… there are more jokes to be had here… Highway Robbery? That’s what I call a bad date? This gives a new meaning to sex crime. #sexcrime
Posted in Amanda Linscott, Criminal Law, Florida, punta gorda / port charlotte / charlotte / southwest florida
Tagged #standyourground, assault, crime, highwayrobbery, linscott, only in florida, port charlotte, robbery, sexcrime, sexgun, stand your ground, swfl
Reports are out that Denver Bronco Elvis Dumervil won’t have to face charges for allegedly pulling a gun during a road rage incident. In one of the first posts on this blog, I speculated that this would be a hard case to make based on the early facts that were coming out, and the prosecutors decision to ‘No File’ the case bears that out. If he has never been convicted of other charges, Dumervil will be eligible to expunge this case from his record. However, an expungement won’t affect all the news stories out there, such as this one. As Judge Thompson used to say, in today’s world of computers, there’s no putting the jeannie back in the bottle (I am paraphrasing).
Dumervil booking photo
Elvis Dumervil was arrested for aggravated assault with a firearm, after allegedly brandishing a weapon during a road-rage incident.
First reaction- why do so many of these things happen in Florida.
Second reaction- there’s an issue with the charge. Dumervil was not carrying a gun when cops caught up to him; there was one in the vehicle, but it wasn’t his. Aggravated Assault charges are always difficult to prove, they are generally he said/ she said situations with little physical evidence. And “sources close to Dumervil” seem to support his defense, though I don’t know how substantial their testimony may be. I’ll try to keep an eye on this one to see if anything comes of it.