Bill would expand “Stand Your Ground” immunity to warning shots
Last week, we reported that Marissa Alexander would get a new trial.
The Florida mother of three was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot over the head of her abusive husband. Her trial, along with the Trayvon Martin case has brought the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law into the spotlight.
Republicans in the state have filed a bill supported by the National Rifle Association that would grant people who fire warning shots in self-defense immunity.
The bill serves to combat the state’s “10-20-Life” statute, which makes it mandatory that those convicted and found not to be protected by the “Stand Your Ground” law serve a minimum of 10 to 20 years in prison.
The “10-20-Life” statutes exclude manslaughter from any minimum sentencing requirements, Assistant State Attorney Mark Caliel confirmed. That means if Alexander had actually killed her husband or one of his sons and been found guilty of manslaughter, she could have instead gotten as little as time served. Caliel said manslaughter should be added into the statutes. Florida Coastal School of Law Professor Rod Sullivan said the statutes were intended to apply to a rash of repeat violent offenders that the state faced when the laws were constructed. His biggest criticisms are that they don’t take into account those who have no previous criminal records or those who possessed a gun but did not actually use it to commit the crime.
Critics call the bill impractical, as it places judges and defense attorneys in positions where they have no power during court proceedings.
Supporters of the bill contend the current laws unfairly punish those who fire warning shots.
Thoughts on the bill?
Can this be seen as Republicans righting a wrong that many feel unjustifiably serves us?
Sound off below!