Fundraiser alert: Justice For Marissa Alexander

EG suggested in the Selfless Signal-Boosting Wednesday thread:

Hey, I’m wondering if we could get a thread on Marissa Alexander and perhaps a signal boost for the final week of her fundraiser? Especially given that the same prosecutor who couldn’t hang a conviction on Zimmerman is now seeking to give her 60 years.

Background stories on Marissa Alexander, against whom Florida State Attorney Angela Corey’s intends to seek 60 years of incarceration for her at retrial (20 years each on 3 charges of aggravated assault):

  • MSNBC: Marissa Alexander could face 60 years

    The Free Marissa Now campaign released a statement condemning Corey’s office, saying they believe she “has launched a campaign of escalating punishment of Marissa Alexander to shield herself from charges of mishandling trials and failing to secure guilty verdicts for the murders of black teens, Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin.”

    “A 60 year sentence for Marissa Alexander would not only be devastating for her, her children and family, and her community, it would be a decisive blow to the right to self defense for black women and all women,” Free Marissa Now leader Aleta Alston-Toure said in a statement. “Incarcerating Marissa Alexander will send a strong message to all survivors that violence against them will be ignored and they instead will be subject to prosecution if they defend their lives.”

  • The Nation: Marissa Alexander Now Faces 60 Years in Prison for Firing a Warning Shot in Self Defense

The donation link is at Indiegogo: Marissa Alexander Freedom Fundraiser.

P.S. I’m preemptively placing this post on full moderation, so please have patience if your comments take a while to be approved.

About tigtog

tigtog blogs a lot elsewhere, but here on Feministe she mostly does the tech support and feeds the giraffe. tigtog tweets in irregular flurries @vivsmythe.
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21 Responses to Fundraiser alert: Justice For Marissa Alexander

  1. Donna L says:

    Thanks for the link, tigtog and EG; I just made a contribution. Everything about this makes me feel ill.

  2. EG says:

    All I want to say (hah) is…shouldn’t the NRA be all over her with support? She had all the permits and licenses, was a responsible gun owner, was trained, harmed nobody–why aren’t they turning their might to advocating for her? Shouldn’t they be pouring money into her defense?

    Could it be because she’s a black woman?

    After all, it was those scary Black Panthers that inspired Reagan to support gun control in the ’60s.

    • Drahill says:

      Well the NRA is throwing their support behind the “Marissa Alexander” bill (it’s not actually named after her, it’s a bill inspired by her case). Basically, it’s a proposed law that specifically places warning shots within the purview of the already existing stand-your-ground law. They are lobbying on behalf of FL S0448. I can’t find anything that says they’ve backed her specifically by name, though.

      http://tbo.com/news/blogs/fresh-squeezed-politics/warning-shot-bill-advances-in-senate-20140304/

      • EG says:

        Well, exactly. Fat lot of good that does her. She ought to be the poster child for their fevered persecution fantasies–she actually is being unfairly targeted by the state for harmless gun-related activity in self-defense. But they’re ignoring her, the actual person.

      • Drahill says:

        Fat lot of good that does her

        I’m not sure I get this. By definition, ANY law passed now cannot benefit Alexander because it could not be applied retroactively. I get the urge to do something for Alexander herself, but short of attempting to influence the discretion of the prosecutor, what more can substantively be done for her (other than providing financial support for her defense)? The largest problem here is that, to me, you have a prosecutor who seems to have a real serious problem with discretion and over-charging. But I am really genuinely curious – short of fundraising, what could, to you, any group or person do on Ms. Alexander’s behalf?

      • Computer Soldier Porygon says:

        I get the urge to do something for Alexander herself, but short of attempting to influence the discretion of the prosecutor, what more can substantively be done for her (other than providing financial support for her defense)?

        EG isn’t saying the NRA/gun groups could ‘do anything’ for Marissa Alexander through the legal system, although they COULD provide that financial support for her defense – no small thing – just that they could kick up an absolutely massive fuss about it. Start banging on about it endlessly on their television shows and talk radio stations like they did for Zimmerman. But they won’t, because of… some mysterious reason…

      • Drahill says:

        I’m not sure what you mean by “massive fuss.” Would the lobbying not count in such an instance? I’m genuinely curious. If the NRA has the tremendous lobbying clout that we’re told they have (and yes, it is tremendous, by sheer dollars spent) then presumably adovcating for a law that would benefit others in Alexander’s situation would be no small thing – especially when the bill is directly tied to the Alexander case. Again, I am not sure exactly what COULD be done to benefit Alexander at this point from a legislative or policy standpoint. Should her case be getting more media play? Certainly, and there are people trying to get it out. But I’m unsure as to how effective that could actually be, for one – since Angela Corey seems hellbent on pursuing this case to the bitter end.

      • Caperton says:

        No, lobbying wouldn’t really count. The NRA is lobbying for a law based on Marissa Alexander’s situation — not for anything that would benefit Alexander. And they’re working to influence the legislature — again, not anyone who would be of help to Marissa Alexander.

        Look at the article you linked. Alexander got four whole sentences, presented as mere background for this other thing that the NRA really cares about. Pushing her case out into the media? Contributing to her defense? Any of our many lawyers here could tell me whether or not an amicus brief could be helpful here?

        The things they could do that would be the most helpful to Alexander also happen to be the things that would get them the most exposure for their cause. So the question becomes why they aren’t doing them.

      • Drahill says:

        Caperton, I am not sure if amicus briefs are accepted in all trial courts. It depends upon the rules of the court. Generally, trial courts that I have direct experience with don’t, since amicus briefs largely concern matters of policy and interpretation – neither of which trial courts are really expected or empowered to do. That’s largely an appellate matter.

        I also question whether the NRA legally could contribute to her defense. My parents have given money in the past to the NRA Legal Fund – the pool through which they fund any legal payments they make. I have seen the donor agreement in the past (looked it up just to sure about what mom and dad were donating to) and I seem to recall a provision in it that ensures that donations into the fund are solely used to fund civil litigation to advance the organization’s stated mission. I’m not saying it would be impossible for them to fund a defense, but I seem to recall that their donor agreement may preclude such a thing. Maybe I should look again. I am trying to wrack my brain to see if I can recall any instance in which the NRA did fund a private criminal defense, but maybe I should look that up.

        As to getting the word out: it seems like Alexander has been covered on the NRA blog, but that’s about what I can find: http://www.nranews.com/home/document/marissa-alexander-florida-woman-in-warning-shot-case-may-be-freed

        Granted, the story is merely a link to the CNN story about the case, so I’m not sure how much it counts.

      • Tony says:

        Warning shots can certainly be a bad idea and there’s a legitimate reason for the law to dissuade them. For one thing, you can’t always see what you’re going to hit, and that’s a no-no from the standpoint of gun safety:

        http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-04-10/news/ct-met-elgin-shooting-trial-open-20120411_1_involuntary-manslaughter-warning-shots-guillermo-pineda

        The issue here is that the punishment should be based on the context of the situation and be at most, a comparative slap on the wrist and not prison time. Florida’s “Three Strikes” law precludes that.

    • Fat Steve says:

      All I want to say (hah) is…shouldn’t the NRA be all over her with support? She had all the permits and licenses, was a responsible gun owner, was trained, harmed nobody–why aren’t they turning their might to advocating for her? Shouldn’t they be pouring money into her defense?

      Could it be because she’s a black woman?

      Probably has more to do with the fact that she didn’t manage to kill the black guy that she was shooting at. The NRA only really supports you if you kill a black person, preferably an unarmed one. You don’t actually believe that the ‘R’ stands for rifle do you?

  3. Tony says:

    And to think Anders Breivik only got 21 years, with which to play video games, apparently.

    • anna_k says:

      …in a completely different criminal justice system with very different priorities to the US, though. I’m not sure this comparison is useful.

    • anna_k says:

      Also, his 21 years can be extended indefinitely. And the “video games” thing bugs because not everyone thinks prisons should be intentionally terrible places of deprivation, and mass murderers do not (in my opinion) provide the best yardstick by which to judge a justice system.

  4. EG says:

    Apparently in the US, if you’re a white man, you can use your gun to murder black teenagers for being black in your neighborhood, not turning down loud music, and possibly ringing your doorbell seeking help after a car accident (it’s still possible that Theodore Paul Wafer will go to prison). You can, also if you’re a white man, use your gun to murder an elderly man with Alzheimer’s for repeatedly ringing your doorbell and knocking on your door late at night when he’s wandered away from home.

    But if you’re a black woman who’s recently given birth and you have all your permits in order and proper training and the former partner who repeatedly abused you against whom you have an injunction is trying to batter down your door, firing a warning shot that harms nobody is NOT OK, and if you object to the trial at which the jury was misinstructed and you got 20 years, well, you’d better hope you win the next trial, because the prosecutor will go for 60 years, and that’ll show you to bow your head and shut up and take exactly what the white legal system decides to give you.

    The whole thing is fucking disgusting, full of misogynoir (please correct me if I’m not using the term correctly), crystallizes Florida as the new Mississippi. Which isn’t to say that this couldn’t or wouldn’t happen elsewhere, but that the juxtaposition of George Zimmerman and Marissa Alexander (It’s the same damn prosecutor, for fuck’s sake) throws this country’s institutional racism/misogyny into sharp relief.

    • TimmyTwinkles says:

      (It’s the same damn prosecutor, for fuck’s sake)

      This can’t be emphasized enough. Angela Corey kills justice.

      • Caperton says:

        Yeah, back during Alexander’s bond hearing in November, Corey was saying that since nothing about the facts of the case or about Marissa Alexander had changed, there was no reason she should be released. But apparently something about the case has changed enough that Corey is now seeking consecutive, rather than concurrent, sentences?

        This isn’t about justice, it’s about a personal vendetta. And it’s bullshit.

    • Drahill says:

      Eh, I more attribute this to Angela Corey personally. Remember, she’s also the DA that prosecuted Ronald Thompson (who’s an elderly white male): http://www.gainesville.com/article/20120614/ARTICLES/120619789?p=all&tc=pgall

      • EG says:

        So you’re saying it’s just one bad apple, the barrel itself is OK?

        I doubt that. Corey got where she has working within a system that has rewarded her for this kind of behavior. She’s not the first and she won’t be the last.

  5. TimmyTwinkles says:

    Angela Corey is a racist thug. Everyone in the legal profession with a soul should be calling for her resignation.

  6. EG says:

    What could the NRA do besides lobby for an ex post facto law?

    Here’re some ideas:

    1) They could fucking well pay for her legal costs so she didn’t have to resort to crowdfunding and engage and pay for a legal dream defense team.

    2) They could push a media blitz, using their pull in various venues to get her interviewed, profiled, taking out ads, keeping her constantly under our noses in mainstream culture.

    3) They could make this an election issue–a gubernatorial pardon could do wonders here, and the NRA is famous for the way they put the screws on politicians.

    4) They could organize and sponsor rallies and other public displays of support, and get news coverage for them.

    Fuck, they’ve got heaps of money and nearly unchecked political power, so the question is really what couldn’t they do?

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