Marissa Alexander, Serving 20 Years for Firing Warning Shot, Gets New Trial

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  • A Florida appeals court is ordering a new trial for a woman sentenced to 20 years to prison after she fired a warning shot in a wall during a dispute with her husband.

    The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that a judge did not properly instruct the jury handling the case of Marissa Alexander. But the appeals court also said the judge was right to block Alexander from using the state’s “stand your ground” law as a way to defend her actions.

    Alexander had never been arrested before she fired a bullet at a wall one day in 2010 to scare off her husband when she felt he was threatening her. But the judge at her trial said her conviction on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon carried a mandatory 20-year sentence under state law.

    Her case in Jacksonville has drawn attention and criticism aimed at mandatory-minimum sentencing laws.

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