Thanksgiving day found Marissa Alexander at home in Florida with her three children for the first time in a year-and-a-half, a confluence of circumstances that brought some rare good news to this mother whose case has enraged so many African Americans across the country.
Alexander wasn’t technically “free,” but she was able to post a $200,000 bond that enabled her to walk out of jail.
In case you don’t recall, we first became aware of the injustice perpetrated against Alexander in the midst of the George Zimmerman trial. That was when the public discovered that this slight young mother of three was sentenced to 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot in 2010 near her 245 lb. husband as he was about to attack, something he had done on many occasions—such as when he shoved her head into a bathtub a year earlier, requiring hospitalization.
Alexander, 33, sat in a Florida jail cell while Zimmerman stalked the streets as a free man after killing an unarmed 17-year-old, Trayvon Martin. Her case made clear that in the state of Florida, there could be widely divergent treatment under Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law for different defendants.
Alexander was able to join her three children on Thanksgiving after a three-judge appellate panel ruled that Alexander deserves a new trial because the judge handling her case did not properly instruct the jury regarding what is needed to prove self-defense.
This new trial will offer a new opportunity to the state of Florida to get the case right, as MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry eloquently points out in the open letter to Florida prosecutor Angela Corey.
“Angela, there are few times in life that we get second chances to right our wrongs,” Harris-Perry starts out. “Well Angela, this is yours.”
Nick Chiles is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a New York Times bestselling author of 12 books, including the upcoming "The Rejected Stone: Al Sharpton and the Path To American Leadership," which he co-authored with Al Sharpton.