Marissa Alexander Gets New Trial!

Photo of Marissa Alexander by Lincoln B. Alexander, her former husband (and supporter.)  I originally published this post on 9/27/13 at 6:51 p.m. and most recently updated it at 7:50 p.m. on 9/28/13 to include information on further media coverage and art and activism on Alexander's behalf.


Gary Fineout (twitter) reports that the appeals court has ordered a new trial  for  Alexander in his on September 26, 2013 AP story, "Fla. woman who fired gun at husband gets new trial." Here's the ruling written by Judge Robert Benton.  (H/T Aura Bogado (email, twitter, bio) of Colorlines.)

Last year Marissa Alexander, a woman with no record, got 20 years after being convicted of firing a single warning shot during an domestic dispute with her abusive ex-husband.  No one was hurt. Compare that with Zimmerman in the case of Travon Martin's death. (See my blog post of May 19, 2012, "Marissa Alexander: Inequal Use of Gun Laws in FL.") 

Other media coverage

Irin Carmon (twitter) has written a good summary of the trial and the new court order for MSNBC.

Benton's ruling specifies errors in jury instructions about self-defense, but prohibits use of Florida's Stand Your Ground defense.  Alexander’s appeal attorney, Bruce Zimet told Cyd Hoskinson of WJCTpublic broadcasting, 
We’re gonna go in front of the judge and make the motion to allow Marissa to be free on bail before her trial.  She’s now presumed to be innocent and that presumption will stay with her all the way through the case.
Prosecutors with the state attorney’s office have said they want Alexander to remain behind bars until her new trial.  Corey, the prosecutor in both this case and Zimmerman's has maintained in the past that the evidence refutes Alexander's testimony.

Lest you think this is purely a liberal cause, "moderately conservative" attorney Aaron Laramore (twitter, (LinkedIn), a program officer with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation lays out his reading of the evidence and why he supports Alexander.  While his entry is undated, Black Conservative linked to Laramore's post on July 17, 2013.

Art and  activism on behalf of Alexander

Here's a poster  uploaded July 24, 2013  by Dignidad Rebelde (website), a graphic arts collaboration between Oakland-based artist-activists Jesus Barraza (bio) and Melanie Cervantes (bio). 

September 14, Alexander's 33rd birthday, supporters held  rallies throughout the country  calling for her freedom  (facebook page, facebook event, map). Chicago's Project NIA (website, twitter) held a teach-in and posted the curriculum September 26.  (In Swahili, NIA means "with purpose." Ultimately, the main purpose for Project NIA is to prepare communities to get involved in creating an effective strategy to address violence and crime.)

 Here's the poster from Philly:
And here's a poster by A.N.S.W.E.R. organizer Autumn Morales (twitter, facebook), which she posted at tumblr on September 8.

Members of WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend--website, fb page) are among those calling  for Alexander's immediate release after the court ruling.  The Washington DC chapter plans a Speak-Out at noon on October 5 at Tivoli Square.