Floridians and those against domestic violence rejoiced when Marissa Alexander was released from prison yesterday (Jan. 27). The 37-year-old mother of three was incarcerated three years ago for aggravated assault after she fired a warning shot in the air to repel her physically abusive husband. Marissa was sentenced to 60 years, but she pleaded guilty to assault in exchange for credit for time served. Alexander will be subject to two years of electronic monitoring and house arrest, excluding approved appointments and employment.
Alexander’s case sparked a national conversation regarding the unfair systematic discriminatory actions against minorities and women. Organizations such as the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign and The Monument Quilt drew supporters from every corner of the country to show Alexander she was not alone. The fundraiser that was started on Alexander’s behalf on GoGetFunding raised $58,297 from 1,122 backers.
The circuit court judge, Judge James Daniel, said he knew the case had drawn national attention, but that had no effect on his decision-making. “[My decision] was not based on any public opinion of any large issue of public interest or social concern,” he said, “but on the specific facts of the case.”
Even though the 2010 incident resulted in zero deaths or injuries, the jury only took 12 minutes to convict Alexander and the prosecutor still attempted to give her the maximum amount of time to serve. When Alexander pleaded guilty to aggravated assault this past November, prosecutor Angela Corey (the same prosecutor in the trial of George Zimmerman) attempted to give her 60 years, triple Alexander’s original sentence from her first trial. However, Corey did not win this time around.
“We are thrilled that Marissa will finally be reunited with her children, her family and her community,” said Sumayya Coleman, co-leader of the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign. “Today’s hearing revealed that Alexander intends to attend school to become a paralegal and she is a wonderful mother to her children who urgently need her.”
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