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Yet Another Domestic Violence Victim Punished for Self-Defense

November 26, 2014

Marissa Alexander, a Florida woman and mother of three, has faced injustice after injustice.  First at the hands of her abusive, estranged husband and then from Florida’s criminal justice system.

For firing a warning shot into the air when her husband attacked her, a mere 9 days after her premature labor and delivery, Alexander was arrested and required to defend herself against a prosecutor and a judicial system that denied her the right that other Floridians have – to stand her ground – and threatened her with a 60 year prison sentence.

Earlier this week, she did what so many victims of domestic violence find themselves doing on a daily basis: she courageously weighed her safety options and then made a decision.  Marissa Alexander determined that it was safer for her to admit to crimes that should never have been leveled against her than to risk her fate to Florida’s prosecutors, juries, and judges.


Having agreed to a plea deal, Ms. Alexander will serve 65 more days in jail – in addition to the nearly three years she has been imprisoned while awaiting trial – followed by two years of ankle-bracelet-monitored probation. While we are relieved that she will not face the threatened draconian 60 years in prison; we remain outraged that she has had to serve any time.

This gross miscarriage of justice serves as a powerful reminder that it is important for us all to speak out and support survivors of domestic violence. There are domestic violence survivors just like Marissa Alexander in states across the country who have been similarly prosecuted for defending themselves and are seeking justice from a system stacked against them.

Learn more about how you can help to demand justice for domestic violence survivors: