FAMM Condemns Mandatory Sentence for Marissa Alexander

Calls for Reform of Florida Sentencing Laws

JACKSONVILLE, FL – FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums) Florida Project Director Greg Newburn today condemned the 20-year mandatory minimum sentence given to Marissa Alexander. Alexander, a 31-year old mother of three, was convicted of aggravated assault after firing a warning shot during an attack by her abusive husband.

“Florida’s mandatory 10-20-life gun law forced the Court to impose an arbitrary, unjust and completely inappropriate sentence,” Newburn said. “Because not even the appeals court can fix her sentence, Ms. Alexander’s only recourse is to ask Governor Scott for clemency. We urge him to grant her relief immediately and send her home to three her kids.” He added, “As long as Florida keeps its inflexible gun sentencing laws, we will continue to see cases like Ms. Alexander’s.”

Newburn hopes the Task Force designed to study Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” will consider reforms to the state’s sentencing laws, too. Newburn said, “Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law is intended to protect the fundamental right of self-defense for all Floridians. If we want to protect Floridians, judges need discretion in cases like Ms. Alexander’s.”

For more information on Marissa Alexander’s case, see this op-ed by Greg Newburn here, or this Huffington Post piece by FAMM President Julie Stewart here.

For information on two other strikingly similar cases, see this profile on Orville Lee Wollard and an op-ed about his case by Ms. Stewart that appeared in The Washington Times, and this FAMM profile of Erik Weyant. Wollard and Weyant are both serving 20-year sentences under Florida’s 10-20-life gun law.

FAMM is a national, nonpartisan nonprofit organization that advocates for fair and proportionate sentences. In 2010, FAMM launched a Florida project to reform state mandatory minimum sentencing laws. For more information visit www.famm.org. To schedule an interview with Florida Project Director Greg Newburn, please contact Monica Pratt Raffanel at media@famm.org.

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FAMM is a national, nonprofit organization working for fair and proportionate sentencing laws.

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