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View Diary: A Letter From Marissa Alexander - The Battered Woman Serving 20 Years For Firing A Warning Shot (327 comments)

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  •  The two cases have... (0+ / 0-)

    ...completely different facts and completely different defenses. Why are they being compared?

    Zimmerman never made an SYG claim. He was acquitted, presumably, because the jury decided that the prosecution didn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman wasn't just legally exercising his right to self-defense.

    Alexander, on the other hand, left the living area of the home where the conflict had occurred, got a gun from the glovebox of her car and returned to fire the gun at/towards the other party to the past conflict. As such, she had no conventional self-defense case as her retreat was successful (it really wasn't even a retreat, she walked by the other party without being stopped) so she was not in reasonable fear of imminent loss of life or serious bodily injury.

    SYG allows you to exercise your self-defense right even if you have a completely safe alternative of retreat. However, it doesn't protect a right to retreat and then later return and shoot the other party to a past conflict where you had previously been in reasonable fear of your life or serious bodily injury -- that would be called the Vigilante Immunity Act (VIA) or something like that if it existed.

    So, she had only one possible defense, a perversion of SYG which was not accepted (nor should it have been -- SYG means you don't have to retreat but she had already done so).

    Suppose that Martin had threatened Zimmerman and blocked his path aggressively (to the point of detaining him) and Zimmerman had then "escaped", went to his car, got a gun, returned and saw Martin in his father's house, walked in an open front door, and shot Martin. Seriously, does anyone think there would be diaries here calling for Zimmerman's release?

    It's ironic that SYG is so unpopular here, yet it was the only legal refuge Alexander had (albeit, she unsuccessfully attempted to apply it in a bizarre way for which it was never intended - as some sort of long term license to settle past scores with deadly force). Why isn't Alexander being ridiculed here for actually exercising SYG as Zimmerman was for simply considering doing so in a case which it would have indisputably been more applicable if Zimmerman's story is to be believed? Very strange.

    •  Having reviewed this more... (0+ / 0-) appears there are multiple conflicting versions of the "facts" in Alexander's case (as there were in Zimmerman's case).

      I followed Zimmerman's case quite closely and found that many of the "facts" on all sides were in fact only opinions or speculation but was able to form a relatively independent version of the facts on my own research.

      I was only barely aware of this case until the last day or so and read a bit about it - unfortunately too little. Upon reading more in the past hour, I realize I've clearly missed some alternative versions of the "facts". Some of these, for example, seem to have Alexander's car locked irretrievably in the garage and some sort of Gordian knot where the keys she needed to open the "automobile" garage door were back in the house but she couldn't retrieve them on exit.

      Lacking time to dig deep into which of the conflicting versions of the Alexander case are factual, I retract my above comment -- except to the extent that if she was not attacked or threatened upon returning to the living area of the house, she has neither a self-defense claim, even with the additional latitude presented by SYG.

      Note that SYG is an affirmative defense -- the defendant must prove it (by the preponderance of the evidence I believe), not the prosecution disprove it (beyond reasonable doubt). It's a much higher bar for the defendant (as it should be) than simple self-defense.

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