Florida’s Board of Executive Clemency held its quarterly meeting Wednesday to consider dozens of cases and to grant pardons to the most deserving. The most notable part of Wednesday’s meeting was what the board didn’t do.
Legislation to allow the use of non-lethal force in "stand your ground" cases is expected to be introduced for the 2014 legislative session.
Marissa Alexander turned 33 two weeks ago. The mother of three fired a gun during a confrontation her abusive ex-husband. Under the state’s minimum mandatory law, Alexander was sent to prison for 20 years. The case has become a focal point for changing the state’s 10-20-Life law.
"She fired a warning shot, no one was harmed," said Marion Hammer of Unified Sportsmen of Florida. "Yet she's in jail for 20 years, that's wrong. You should not have to shoot somebody in order to protect yourself and not be prosecuted."
State Sen. Dwight Bullard has written the governor and Clemency Board asking Alexander be pardoned and released. The board met Wednesday and although the case wasn't on the agenda, Bullard showed up anyway.
"I think by the presence of me being there, the Clemency Board begins to acknowledge that fact that people are watching," Bullard said.
An application for Clemency is not a public record, according to the rules for Clemency, but Channel 4 confirmed that Alexander has submitted the paperwork.
Alexander's case has sparked protests in Jacksonville and drawn national attention. The task force studying Stand Your Ground said changes to 10-20-Life law should permit self defense.
"A young woman in fear for her life, suffering from battered wife syndrome, choose to fire, really, a warning shot," Bullard said.
Alexander has been behind bars 16 months.