Florida has made some changes to its controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, but will it help Marissa Alexander‘s case?
Governor Rick Scott signed a bill into law on Friday, expanding “Stand Your Ground” to include a provision for people that fire warning shots, ABC News reports.
Marissa was convicted on charges of aggravated assault in 2012 after firing a warning shot at her husband during a domestic dispute. Her attorney argued that she fired the shot in self defense. She was still sentenced to 20 years in prison because the situation did not satisfy the terms of Stand Your Ground as it existed then.
“The new law, as it stands now, allows you to claim immunity from prosecution if you used or threatened deadly force,” Attorney Anthony Rickman told WTVT. “The problem was that under Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws, as it was originally, it only allowed you to use that defense if you used actual deadly force.” It should also be noted that bill has included a change in the language, requiring that anyone using a warning shot in self defense must believe they are in imminent danger.
Marissa’s lawyer said in a statement that they’re “grateful” for the Governor Scott’s decision to extend “Stand Your Ground” so that it covers people who fire warning shots. Her conviction was overturned, and an appellate judge ordered a retrial in the case. Undoubtedly, the defense hopes that the new law can be applied to Marissa case.
Unfortunately, prosecutors told ABC News that the provision will not be retroactive. There may also be evidence that Marisa didn’t shoot at her husband to scare him off.