September 26, 2013

Woman Serving 20 Years for 'Warning Shot' Wins New Trial

Breaking from
Woman Jailed for Gunshot Wins New Trial
A woman sentenced to 20 years in prison after firing a "warning shot" during an argument with her abusive husband won a new trial on Thursday in a case under Florida's controversial self-defense law.

A state appeals court ruled that Marissa Alexander, 32, deserved a new trial because the judge failed to properly instruct the jury regarding her claim of self-defense.

No one was injured in the shooting but because Alexander fired a gun in the incident, Florida's mandatory-minimum sentencing guidelines required the judge to sentence her to 20 years in prison.

The case of Alexander, who is black, drew criticism from civil rights groups concerned about self-defense laws and mandatory minimum sentencing rules. 
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