Questions about Marissa Alexander leaving home to be cleared up
Attorneys for Marissa Alexander are already making changes in the way they file a travel request. That comes on the same day the state attorney's office asked that her bond be hiked or revoked for making the request of another agency.
"From the defense standpoint, while you like to rely upon those who are watching your clients to make the decision that it's OK, this is probably one that they should have gone to the court for every step that she were to take," said defense attorney Gene Nichols, who's not affiliated with the case.
The state attorney's office is responding to claims from Alexander's attorneys that she had permission to leave her home. Prosecutors made a motion for Alexander's bond to be raised or revoked because that permission did not come from the court, which has the final say.
Alexanders attorneys say she got permission from the Jacksonville Sherriff's Office agency supervising her while on out bond. But the state attorney's office says it's not enough, and getting permission from the pretrial program was not a replacement for getting permission from the court.
The issue will be sorted out Friday here during Alexander's bond hearing, but her attorneys are already making changes, getting permission from the judge, not the pretrial program for Alexander to visit her attorney's office afterward.
Alexander has been out on bond since November.
"If I was representing Ms. Alexander, and the people who are responsible who had the ankle monitor on her said that she was permitted to go from here or there, then I would rely upon that because this is an arm of the Sheriff's Office. These are the people who are monitoring her," Nichols said.
In this case, the judge issued a specific order: Alexander stays home unless she has a medical emergency, court appearances or permission from the court.
Alexander's attorneys say a pretrial release supervisor approved visits to places like the bank, her former attorney's office, even the hair salon.
The state attorney's office says that doesn't negate the judges order, saying:
"The court's requirement that defendant be monitored by a pretrial services program was in addition to, not in lieu of a replacement for, the clear and specific restrictions on defendant's movements contained within the court's order."
The state attorneys office went on to say the counselor Alexander got "permission" from is not a circuit judge, but instead a civilian charged with ensuring Alexander complies with the rules of the pretrial services program.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, which employs Alexander's counselor, issued a statement, saying: "The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office will not be commenting on the home detention of Marissa Alexander. There is a hearing scheduled for this Friday. It would be inappropriate to comment in advance of that hearing; also, we are looking into the matter administratively to see if corrections personnel followed proper protocol."
"I'm sure what probably happened was Ms. Alexander was probably treated by CTC just like most everybody else who is on an ankle monitor, so that when a reasonable request comes in they will typically grant it," Nichols said.
Alexander's case is anything but typical. She's facing a second trial for firing a gun in the direction of her husband, after an appeals court threw out her conviction because of faulty jury instructions. The case has attracted national attention.
Nichols said with specific instructions from the judge, her attorneys have to cover all bases.
As for Friday's hearing, Nichols said everyone will leave clear on the judge's order.
"They will be reminded of that, that starting from here on out if she is to go anywhere outside of what the judge entered as his order, that she is going to have to get court permission and not permission from those who are monitoring her," Nichols said.
The state attorney's office said it believes Alexander's actions should not remain "unsanctioned."
Alexander and her attorneys will attend Friday's hearing.
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