Jacksonville Woman Who Fired Gun In 'Abusive' Husband Incident Gets New Trial

Sep 26, 2013

Alexander was serving a mandatory minimum 20-year sentence because she was convicted of a crime during which she fired a gun.
Credit Florida Department of Corrections

A Jacksonville woman serving a 20-year prison sentence for trying to scare her husband with a gunshot is getting a new trial. The Marisa Alexander case has made national headlines as it stokes the debate over Florida’s mandatory-minimum-sentence laws.

On Thursday, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal ruled Alexander’s trial judge gave the jury incorrect instructions about how to define self-defense. She was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after, she testified, she fired a warning shot into the air as her abusive husband charged toward her, threatening to kill her. While the district court agreed with Alexander that she deserves a new trial, it nonetheless also agreed with a lower court that she could not use Florida’s Stand Your Ground law to avoid prosecution.

The following from a statement from one of Alexander's lawyers, Bruce Zimet:

"Marissa was informed of the reversal of her conviction early this afternoon. Marissa expressed her gratitude for today’s decision as well as her continued confidence in the judicial system’s ability to correct mistakes. Marissa also wanted to thank those who have offered their support and prayers during her incarceration. Finally, Marissa expressed her desire to be back with her children and family.
Marissa’s case will be returned to the Circuit Court in Jacksonville. Judge James H. Daniel will set a date for Marissa’s retrial."