Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law has been extended to include Floridians who fire warning shots or threaten to use a gun in self-defense.
The bill, recently signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott, was partially inspired by Marissa Alexander, a 33-year-old Jacksonville woman facing a retrial for firing an alleged warning shot at her abusive husband during a dispute. A number of activists have called the case into question, arguing that Alexander, an African-American woman, would not have been charged if she were white.
"We learned today that Governor Rick Scott has signed the corrective Stand Your Ground Bill, which was advanced by the legislature as a result of concern about Marissa's case among others," read the statement from Alexander’s defense team. "We are of course grateful for the governor's actions."
Alexander’s initial 20-year sentence was overturned by an appellate court in September 2013. Her next trial was pushed from July 28 to Dec. 1 to await action from Gov. Rick Scott regarding the bill.
This update might or might not impact Alexander’s case. While Alexander’s defense team says the legislation was partially inspired by her and could apply, prosecutors have argued that the bill cannot be applied retroactively.
“When you look at the facts of the Marissa Alexander case, [the bullet] went into the wall and into the next room,” Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford told Florida Times-Union. “That was not a warning shot.”
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(Photo: REUTERS/Bob Mack/The Florida Times-Union/Pool)