Marissa Alexander looks back to the gallery in the Duval County Courthouse in Jacksonville, Fla., April 2, 2014.
Bob Mack/AP

Marissa Alexander in court, seeking ‘stand your ground’ immunity

Marissa Alexander will learn next month whether she will be allowed to seek immunity under Florida’s “stand your ground” law. 

Judge James Daniel announced a hearing will be held May 16 to determine if the Jacksonville mother will be able to have a “stand your ground” hearing that could potentially grant her immunity under the controversial Florida law, rather than going to trial again, according to various reports

Alexander has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault stemming from a 2010 incident in which she fired what she described as a warning shot in the direction of her estranged husband and two of his children. Alexander was convicted on those charges in 2012, but Judge Daniel ordered a retrial last fall after determining that the jury instructions in her original trial were erroneous

Alexander’s lawyer Bruce Zimet filed motions last month indicating he plans to seek immunity for Alexander under Florida’s “stand your ground” law. If successful, he could prevent the case from going to trial entirely. Alexander sought and was denied “stand your ground” immunity in her 2012 trial, and Judge Daniel indicated in his order for a retrial he agreed with the original decision, but Zimet contends the original hearing “suffered from an incomplete evidentiary record.” 

When the full evidentiary record is analyzed under the correct statute, Alexander’s right to immunity will be clear,” Zimet wrote in pretrial motions filed in March. In those motions, he outlined key witness testimony provided by her estranged husband’s son regarding whether or not he had approached Alexander in a threatening manner. Zimet noted in his filings that the son “subsequently recanted his devastating but fictitious testimony” and later admitted his father had “started toward” Alexander while saying the words, “B****, I’ll kill you.”

If immunity is not granted, Alexander’s retrial will begin in July. Judge Daniel announced Wednesday in court that jury selection in the retrial will begin on July 21, according to The Florida Times-Union

If convicted on all three charges, Alexander faces a total of 60 years in prison under Florida’s “10-20-Life” minimum gun crime sentencing law. 

Alexander rejected a three-year plea deal offered by State Attorney Angela Corey in her original trial. A group of local Florida pastors have been pushing for Corey’s office to offer that same plea deal again. The office has not publicly responded to the request, but told WJXT they received the letter penned by area pastors.

Last month, Angela Corey’s office emailed Florida lawmakers an attachment called “The Truth about the Alexander Case,” laying out some of the key points in the state’s case. 

Florida and Stand Your Ground

Marissa Alexander in court, seeking 'stand your ground' immunity