Supporters of Marissa Alexander received a bit of good news Wednesday as the trial for the mother of three has been pushed back to July 28, 2014.
According to Bruce Zimet, Alexander’s attorney, the trial’s initial date, March 31, was too soon for adequate preparation. The new date, which was set on Jan. 30, is a plus for Zimet, who added that he needs additional time to get expert witnesses on battered women’s syndrome, ballistics, and research into contested testimony at Alexander’s first trial.
In addition to setting a new trial date, Judge James Daniel revealed his desire to ban live-streaming and the use of Twitter in the courtroom as well as impose strict rules on media coverage of the case in order to “control what picture is being shown” in pre-trial publicity.
The new trial date is the latest development surrounding Alexander, who was sentenced to 20 years behind bars for firing a warning shot to stop her estranged husband, a serial abuser, from attacking her. A Florida Appeals Court granted Alexander a new trial after serving nearly three years. With the first trial improperly forcing Alexander to prove her innocence, Alexander was granted a new trial by the appeals court. Alexander, who was released on bond on Thanksgiving Day 2013, is currently under house detention until the conclusion of her new trial.
“The error in Alexander’s first trial has cost the state and taxpayers. But Marissa and her family have paid more than anyone financially and emotionally,” Sumayya Fire, a leader of the national Free Marissa Now mobilization and the African American/Black Women’s Cultural Alliance, said in a news release. “While we are anxious to see Marissa exonerated and free from house detention as soon as possible, we also want her to get the best trial possible. Marissa’s family appreciates the court’s flexibility in rescheduling the trial and allowing more time for preparation. Marissa’s thousands of supporters are confident she will win when the jurors understand her situation as a battered woman. Justice really demands that State Prosecutor Angela Corey drop the charges now and not put this woman through the cost and anxiety of another trial.”
To help drive home its cause, The Free Marissa Now Mobilization campaign is utilizing the month of February to raise awareness of Alexander’s case and other criminalized survivors of domestic violence. Supporters are urged to hold rallies and forums, create art, fundraise for Alexander’s legal defense fund, send cards to Alexander and other survivors of violence, and use social networking to help get the word out.
Among the scheduled events are the launch of the Free Marissa DJ project on February 10 as well as a week’s worth of awareness activities from Feb. 8-16 and Feb. 14-16. The Free Marissa DJ Project centers around people dedicating a song to freeing Alexander and ending domestic violence and mass incarceration.