Marissa Alexander will remain free on bail, ruled Circuit Judge James Daniel, albeit under tightens rules of release to account for the fact that “mistakes were made”.
The State, in the form of Andrea Corey’s State Prosecutors office, had filed a motion this past Monday to have Alexander’s bail revoked. They argued that she had terminated the home detention conditions of her bail by frequently leaving her home to run errands. Alexander, in turn, argued that she had sought and received permission for each of these trips from the Sheriff’s Office CPC counselor assigned to monitor her compliance with the terms of release. (For more detail, see: To Revoke, or Not To Revoke: Marissa Alexander Bail Hearing Tomorrow.)
Certainly pivotal to Judge Daniel’s decision was the testimony of April Wilson the CPC counselor assigned to monitor Alexander’s release. The testified that she did, in fact, approve each of Alexander’s trips, and did so in the belief that she was following the court’s order specifying the terms of release.
Alexander’s defense counsel argued, successfully, that Alexander reasonably relied on the permission of the CPC counselor in believing she remained in compliance with her bond.
Next Steps, Anticipated Outcome
Alexander awaits re-trial on on March 31 on three counts of aggravated assault in the firing of a gun at her then-husband Rico Gray and his two minor children.
Her first conviction was appropriately overturned when the trial judge incorrectly instructed the jury on the law of self-defense. Prior to the first trial Alexander had been offered, but rejected, a 3-year plea agreement, perhaps in part because she had just had a child. At the conclusion of the trial the jury returned a guilty verdict on all three counts of aggravated assault after deliberating for only 12 minutes. Under Florida’s “10-20-Life” law (FS 775.087), the firing of a gun in the commission of an aggravated assault results in a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years, which is what Alexander received.
Many, including myself, had suspected given the political pressure sympathetic to Alexander that the State would re-offer her the original 3-year plea agreement, much of which could simply be dispensed with as time-served.
Given the ferocity with which the State thought to revoke Alexander’s bail, however, a re-offering of the earlier plea agreement now appears unlikely.
Based upon the facts in evidence, it seems unlikely that a re-trial using correct self-defense instructions will arrive at a different verdict than did the first trial, and of course Alexander will once again receive the mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years if convicted a second time.
Keep your eyes right here at Legal Insurrection for breaking news on the continuing travails of Marissa Alexander.
Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.DONATE
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