Alexander's attorneys seek 'stand your ground' hearing

Published On: May 16 2014 11:22:35 AM EDT
Updated On: May 16 2014 09:15:13 PM EDT

Alexander was found guilty of aggravated armed assault in 2012. She was sentenced to 20 years. In 2013, an appeals court reversed her conviction because of faulty jury instructions and ordered a new trial. Before there's any trial, Alexander's attorneys are arguing that she should get a stand your ground hearing. Hear how the judge responds.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A motions hearing was held Friday in the retrial of Marissa Alexander to determine if there will be a "stand your ground" hearing later on.

Alexander is charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for firing what she claims was a warning shot into a wall near her estranged husband, Rico Gray, and his two young sons.

In a two-hour hearing, Judge James Daniel listened to arguments as to whether to grant or deny Alexander a new hearing.

The defense said it has a new set of facts, including a "warning shot" bill awaiting the governor's signature that basically says someone in reasonable fear of death or bodily harm can use deadly force under "stand your ground."

Daniel, who sentenced Alexander to 20 years in 2012, isn't convinced Alexander's case warrants another stand your ground hearing.

"We can't have multiple stand your ground hearings in every case just because the defense comes back and finds new evidence," Daniel said.

"We're not asking for a reversal," defense attorney Faith Gay said. "Any court in the country where a ruling is based on incorrect facts and false testimony that the court didn't know at the time, the court has the power to have a new hearing."

Defense attorneys said Alexander's stepson was lying on the stand to protect his dad, something they didn't know it at the time.

The state suggested bringing Rico Gray Jr. back to court in hopes of hearing his true testimony. But prosecutor Rich Mantei said the defense had its chance to gain stand your ground immunity and does not have grounds for a new hearing.

"When I went through this, the only thing that kept going through my mind was the Tom Jones song, '(What's New) Pussycat?' I'm not seeing it," Mantei said.

He said even if a new stand your ground hearing is granted, a new statute wouldn't apply because the current law was in effect at the time of the incident.

The judge will decide if the new statute is retroactive and asked both sides to submit materials by the end of the month supporting or objecting it.

Alexander's attorney, Bruce Zimet, spoke after Friday's hearing, with Alexander by his side.

"Here's a woman who's been in prison for nearly three years, who's incredibly strong," Zimet said. "She's dealt with adversity, she's back with her family, and if you see her with her kids, interact with her kids, you can see what an incredible, strong woman she is. She's leading by example. The road isn't complete yet, but she's on a journey, which will hopefully allow her to be home with her kids full time."

Another motions hearing is set for June 10.

Jury selection for Alexander's retrial is set to begin July 21 with a 300-person pool. The judge hopes the trial could begin the following Monday.

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