Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Seeking Another Stand Your Ground Hearing; Alexander Again Seeks Immunity from Prosecution under State Law

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Seeking Another Stand Your Ground Hearing; Alexander Again Seeks Immunity from Prosecution under State Law

Article excerpt

Byline: Larry Hannan

Attorneys for Marissa Alexander are asking for a Stand Your Ground hearing to argue that she fired a shot at her estranged husband in self defense.

It will be the second time Alexander, 33, seeks immunity from prosecution under the state's Stand Your Ground law, which allows the use of deadly force instead of retreating if the person is afraid for his or her life. A previous claim in July, 2011 was rejected.

Alexander, 33, is out on bond while awaiting a new trial on charges of firing a gun at her estranged husband and his two children. She was previously convicted of three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to 20 years in prison, but that conviction was thrown out on appeal.

The new Stand Your Ground motion, filed Friday by attorney Bruce Zimet, argues that there is critical new information that wasn't heard in the original Stand Your Ground hearing. It also says the information presented at the original hearing "was at best grossly incomplete."

New evidence profoundly undermines the testimony of Alexander's estranged husband, Rico Gray, and his two children, Zimet said. All three testified in the original Stand Your Ground hearing.

One child completely recanted his testimony while another was revealed to have previously lied to police about a prior altercation involving his father and another woman, Zimet said.

The judge in the original hearing also didn't have the chance to consider evidence of Gray's history of abuse against other women, his intimidation of witnesses and his blaming of his victims, Zimet said.

Evidence will also be introduced at the second hearing showing that Alexander had good reason to believe that serious bodily harm or death at Gray's hand was imminent if she hadn't discharged her firearm.

"When the full evidentiary record is analyzed under the correct statute, Alexander's right to immunity will be clear," Zimet said in his motion. "Alexander therefore respectfully requests an evidentiary hearing to present to the court critical evidence never previously introduced, to be analyzed in the context of the complete factual record and under the correct legal framework."

Officials with the State Attorney's Office, who are prosecuting Alexander, did not respond to phone calls or e-mails Friday.

Alexander was originally convicted in 2012 and sentenced to 20 years in prison, but that sentence was overturned in 2013 when an appeals court ruled that Circuit Judge James Daniel made a mistake in shifting the burden to Alexander to prove she was acting in self-defense. …

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