Woman Sentenced To 20 Years For Firing Warning Shot Against Abusive Husband

Woman Sentenced To 20 Years For Firing Warning Shot Against Abusive HusbandSaying he had no discretion under state law, a judge sentenced a Jacksonville, Florida, woman to 20 years in prison Friday for firing a warning shot in an effort to scare off her abusive husband.

‘Persecuted because of her race’

Marissa Alexander unsuccessfully tried to use Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law to derail the prosecution, but a jury in March convicted her of aggravated assault after just 12 minutes of deliberation. The case, which was prosecuted by the same state attorney who is handling the Trayvon Martin case, has gained the attention of civil rights leaders who say the African-American woman was persecuted because of her race.

State Attorney Angela Corey said she had offered Alexander a plea bargain that would have resulted in a three-year prison sentence, but Alexander chose to take the case to a jury trial, where a conviction would carry a mandatory sentence under a Florida law known as “10-20-life.”


‘Reasonably threatened’

The law mandates increased penalties for some felonies, including aggravated assault, in which a gun is carried or used. Corey said the case deserved to be prosecuted because Alexander fired in the direction of a room where two children were standing. Alexander said she was attempting to flee her husband, Rico Gray, on August 1, 2010, when she picked up a handgun and fired a shot into a wall. She said her husband threatened to kill her, so she fired one shot.

Alexander’s attorneys tried to use the state law that allows people to use potentially deadly force anywhere they feel reasonably threatened with serious harm or death. But a previous judge in the case rejected the request, saying Alexander’s decision to go back into the house was not consistent with someone in fear for her safety, according to the Florida Times Union newspaper.

Do you agree with the 20-year jail sentence given to Marissa Alexander? Why or why not?

Source: CNN Wire Staff | CNN

Image: Political Blind Spot

Zimmerman Trial Whistleblower Fired After Testimony

Zimmerman Trial Whistleblower Fired After TestimonyAn employee of the Florida State Attorney’s Office who testified that prosecutors withheld evidence from George Zimmerman’s defense team has been fired.

‘Deleted text messages’

Ben Kruidbos had been on paid administrative leave since May 28 from his job as director of information technology for the State Attorney’s Office. A spokeswoman for Fourth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Angela Corey said Kruidbos was no longer an employee of the office.

Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, is on trial in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last year. Kruidbos testified before Zimmerman’s trial began that Martin’s cell phone contained images of Martin blowing smoke, images of marijuana and deleted text messages regarding a transaction for a firearm and that those images had not been given to Zimmerman’s defense team. He received the termination letter, dated July 11, on Friday, the same day jurors began deliberating Zimmerman’s case.


‘Held liable’

Kruidbos said that, when he printed a 900-page Florida Department of Law Enforcement report from Martin’s cell phone in late 2012 or early 2013, he noticed information was missing. Concerned that attorneys did not have all the information they needed to prepare the case, he said, he reported his concerns to a State Attorney’s Office investigator and later to prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda.

Kruidbos said he generated a report that was more than three times the size of the one that had been handed over.In court, Kruidbos testified that he was concerned that he could be held liable if all information wasn’t shared. But the defense said Kruidbos’ testimony supports its claim that the state violated the rules of discovery. The defense said it did not get the complete report until a few days before the trial.

Is the firing of Ben Kruidbos rightly justified? Feel free to throw in your opinions regarding this case!

Source: Tom Watkins and Nancy Leung | CNN

Image: Scared Monkeys