Unjust Stand Your Ground law needs revision


It seems the Stand Your Ground law is one of the most controversial Florida statutes. 

Its flaws emerged to the public with George Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict last July. Numerous trials involving Stand Your Ground have
surfaced nationally since.

Now a 2012 Stand Your Ground case in which a Florida woman, Marissa Alexander, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after firing a warning shot to protect herself from her violent husband is having a second chance in court. 

According to an article from the Tampa Bay Times, no one was injured, but Alexander was denied
immunity under the Stand Your Ground law, which allows the use of deadly force if one fears death or bodily harm. Last November, she appealed the case and was granted a new trial to take place in July. 

But if she is convicted again and found guilty on three counts of aggravated assault in her retrial, her sentence would triple to
60 years. 

A sentencing that is entirely unjust. 

It appears the state is trying to prevent Alexander from moving forward with her retrial, even though she deserves Stand Your Ground immunity for acting in self-defense. 

It is baffling to realize that, had Alexander actually used deadly force, she would have most likely been granted immunity. Instead, lives were spared and Alexander may spend the next 60 years in prison for it. 

Luckily for Alexander, it’s unlikely she will have to serve 60 years due to a  state “warning shot” bill, which was written in response to her case.

The bill, which would allow the firing of a warning shot at a potential attacker, passed through the Senate on Tuesday and is heading to a full vote, according to The Wall
Street Journal. 

The new bill would help clarify the inconsistency of the Stand Your Ground law because it intends to amend the state’s justifiable-use-of-force statutes to also include threats of force.  But the fact that the “warning shot” bill needed to be drafted in response to Alexander’s case shows there are clearly gaping holes in Stand Your Ground”that beg
for clarification. 

It is unreasonable to write new bills for each specific case to add to Stand Your Ground. Instead, the Florida government needs to take the time to tediously rewrite Stand Your Ground so it is fair and consistent in all future cases.


Ali Leist is a junior majoring in mass communications.