Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

The phone call was everything she had hoped for. After completing more than a year of a twenty-year sentence, Marissa Alexander’s attorney made the phone call that let his client know that an appellate court judge had ordered a new trial for the the Florida woman who fired what she and her family labeled a warning shot in the direction of her husband, Rico Gray; a man she believed was threatening her life. Mr. Gray’s two children were also in the general vicinity where and when the shots were fired.

In an interview with CNN, one of her lawyers said “Marissa was ecstatic and obviously she’s incredibly thankful and wants to get back with her family,”
In an article posted here last week it was demonstrated how the mother of three from Jacksonville was convicted in a failed “stand your ground” defense and began serving her mandatory minimum sentence that fell under Florida’s 10-20-life law which was instituted in 1999. The section of the law that applied to Marissa’s case states that if someone fires a gun they’re to receive a mandatory 20 year sentence if convicted of charges connected to the crime.

In full, the 10-20-Life statute relates to those convicted of crimes where a gun or similar destructive device was used. For displaying and pointing a gun during the commission of a crime, a conviction would be imposed of a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. For selected felonies, committed or attempted, the 10 year mandatory sentence is also approved if the accused even just possessed a gun during the commission of the crime. The mandatory minimum sentence is 20 years for firing the weapon during the course of the offense. And if a victim is injured or killed due to the results of the gun being fired during the time-frame in which the crime transpires, a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years can be imposed. Lifetime sentences can also be levied under the preceding circumstance. Furthermore, the law also affords a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison for any individual previously convicted of a felony who even possesses a gun.

A lot of media coverage was given to her case after the George Zimmerman not guilty verdict which may have contributed to the reason the first District Court of Appeal ruled in her favor stating that Alexander merits a new trial for the reason that the trial judge handling her case did not instruct the jury properly concerning what is needed to prove and disprove self-defense.

Judge Robert Benton wrote the new ruling stating that the original instructions given established a “fundamental error” and required the defendant’s attorneys’ to prove self-defense “beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, he also made it clear in the ruling that the court was correct in blocking the “stand your ground” defense again.

One of the attorneys representing Alexander said she was thankful for the “thorough consideration” delivered by the court. She went on to say that “we are looking forward to taking the case back to trial,” Another from her team of lawyers said “She deserves a fair trial just like any other person, and the presumption of innocence has returned to her and we believe that a jury that hears the full case and has correct law will hopefully vindicate her and acquit her of all charges.”

Before the 2010 incident and subsequent guilty verdict, Alexander had never been arrested or charged with any crime. But even though it was her first offense, the judge maintained he was bound by the law’s minimum sentencing instructions to uphold a penalty of 20 years in prison once she was convicted of the allegations. Alexander was convicted of three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. She has maintained from the beginning that the shot fired was a warning shot and not ever meant to cause any injury.

She had previously declined a plea deal of three years in prison believing that the original jury would acquit her once her story was told. It took that jury 13 minutes to convict her.

Last week, a trial judge issued an order to bring Alexander back to the Duval County jail from the state prison where she was serving her sentence in Marion County, Florida.

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A case that gained National attention due to two controversial issues; the first, Florida’s stand your ground law which has been under recent scrutiny and the other, Florida’s 10-20-Life gun law statute remains in the headlines.

In the recent George Zimmerman acquittal the stand your ground defense wasn’t raised in the actual trial, but it is believed by some that the jury’s concluding decision was founded on the Judge not providing clear instructions before their deliberations began. This theory demonstrates that some members of the jury may have been led to believe that the law did apply, affecting their final decision of not guilty, with the statute in mind.

In the Marissa Alexander case, the statute was invoked, but the results of a jury that took only 12 minutes to decide her fate returned a guilty verdict, which led to the imposition of a twenty-year sentence under Florida’s 10-20-Life gun law.

A plea bargain of three years in prison was offered by the State Attorney’s Office but Alexander was sure that if a jury heard her story, she would undeniably be acquitted. However, after the court case that was decided in May of last year concluded, the outcome did not go her way.

Alexander, 31, stated that she wasn’t trying to hurt anyone when she fired what she and her family have termed a warning shot in the direction of her husband, Rico Gray, 36, and his two young boys during a fight between the two. According to her version of the story she was fighting back against a man who she claimed was habitually violent to her. She claimed that he choked and punched her on numerous occasions over the past year. It was her belief that she was sheltered by Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law when she fired a gun multiple times into the walls and ceiling where her husband stood.

The stand your ground statute sanctions extensive discretion in the use of deadly force as a defense if an individual believes that their life is in jeopardy or if they are facing the possibility of severe bodily harm.

State Attorney Angela Corey said that the case merited prosecution because the gun was fired in the direction of where two children were present and vulnerable.

Alexander was sure her version of the events were solid, but one key factor that transpired four months after she was released on bail convinced the prosecutor and may have swayed the jury not to believe her story.

After her original arrest, she was released on bail with specific instructions not to make contact with Gray whatsoever. However after her release she went to his residence getting into an argument with him which resulted in him sustaining multiple bruises including a black eye.

According to Alexander’s family, the second incident happened a few days before her newborn baby would have been dropped from the couple’s insurance policy. They maintain that Marissa travelled to Gray’s residence solely to ask him to sign forms that would have kept the policy active for the child. Her family inferred that he attacked her upon her arriving at his house that evening. They provided her medical records resulting from the incident to the Huffington Post periodical, which substantiated that she suffered minor bruising and scrapes on her arm, hand and face, as what they believed was evidence of what transpired at the scene of the incident.

Gray called the police after Alexander left his house, once the altercation had concluded.

Gray’s side of the story claimed that Alexander came over to drop off their daughter, and then asked him if she could spend the night there. When he rejected her offer, she “became enraged and began striking him on the face. Gray then raised his hands, and he yelled out to his sons to call the police,” according to the police report. The police officer that responded to the 911 call noted that Gray’s children substantiated their father’s account of the story.

When Alexander was contacted by the police that evening, she said she didn’t understand why she was being called upon and had an “alibi” for the time period in question, according to their report. Upon examination of Gray, the police found swelling on his face as well as a cut under his left eye. There were no visible injuries primarily found on Alexander but on the way back to jail she said she was feeling light-headed and subsequently became unresponsive. At that point one of the officers said that he “observed that there was a small cut under the suspect’s eye that was not there prior to her being placed in my back seat.”

Alexander was rearrested and this time charged with battery. She pleaded no contest to the new charge and has remained in prison since the new charges were added.

During Court Proceedings State attorney Corey stated that Alexander’s actions; interacting with the man she stated that she was deathly afraid of, and striking him, “didn’t show much of her being remorseful” or “being a peaceful person… “Everybody is still ignoring that she got out on bond and chose to go back over there and hit him a second time… That was kind of an indication of where putting her on probation, where you might have been able to do that before, was off the table since she disregarded a judge’s order.”

Alexander was convicted of three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and awaits appeal for the twenty-year sentence.

Civil rights leaders were quick to point out that the African-American mother of three was prosecuted principally due to her race. U.S. Representative Corrine Brown, said the sentence, was too severe and Alexander should never have been charged in the first place based on the stand your ground statute.

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A six month pregnant Gilbert, Arizona woman was arrested and charged with domestic violence and aggravated assault last month after becoming enraged when she discovered that her husband didn’t vote in last month’s Presidential election.

According to witnesses, Holly Solomon, 28, was seen arguing with her husband Daniel in a parking lot after she became infuriated during their discussion involving his decision not to vote in the election that took place on November 6. The witnesses, one of whom made a 911 call heard shouting and saw Mrs. Solomon get into her Jeep and chase her husband through the parking lot, the East Valley Tribune reported. Another witness commented that “He got out of the car and she was screaming at him. And he started walking away and she started driving in circles around him and she wouldn’t let him go so finally he took off to try to get away and she ran into him.”

The exchange between the two which quickly got out-of-hand was driven by Solomon’s loathing of President Obama’s recently enacted Affordable Care Act, generally known as Obamacare according to MyFox Phoenix.

During the mad chase, Mr. Solomon tried to hide behind a light pole at first, but Mrs. Solomon pursued him while yelling at him, a Gilbert, AZ. Police report confirmed.

When the husband tried to escape, she drove after him, finally hitting him with the SUV and sandwiching him between the Jeep and the parking lot curb, according to local police. Mr. Solomon was taken to a local hospital where he is in critical condition. It was later revealed that he sustained a fracture of the pelvic area, artery damage and also faces potential “permanent disfiguration” caused by the violent attack, according to court records.

Daniel Solomon communicated to police that his wife began arguing with him the weekend after the election, explicitly due to his “lack of voter participation,” in the Presidential race. Gilbert police Sergeant Jesse Sanger communicated in an e-mail that he said Solomon’s wife believed that her family was going to face undue hardships as the result of President Obama again winning the Presidential election and the establishment of Obamacare that will now become the law of the land.

Mrs. Solomon pleaded not guilty to the charges which are possibly the Country’s largest overreaction to the outcome of a Presidential election. Initially, the plea, which is customarily just a formality to charges of reckless driving, disorderly conduct with a weapon, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, was heard by a jailhouse Judge who told her that she was now charged with the three counts. She is being held on a $50,000 bond and had nothing to say through the brief proceeding although when medics originally arrived at the scene and found her husband pinned under the vehicle she explained that she had hoped to “scare” him with her actions. Neither drugs nor alcohol were assumed to be an element of the incident
Solomon’s next court date is planned for January 11, 2013, which happens to be nine days before President Obama’s second inauguration.

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After reports of gunshots at the Barrington Club apartments in Coral Springs, police were called to the complex by a 911 dispatcher. When they arrived, they saw a man leaving a residence and then hurriedly returning inside, authorities said.

Soon after, Katherine Maffei, 40, suffering from a gunshot wound, left the premises and stumbled to the ground. Her father, Robert Ranta, 67 who was firmly carrying his 4-year old daughter’s son out of the residence also collapsed next to his daughter. He was suffering from gunshot wounds as well. The child was unharmed, but Mrs. Maffei, and her father, were both taken in serious condition to Broward Health North.

According to a Coral Springs police statement Thomas Maffei, 45, the victim’s estranged husband allegedly fired a gun through the front door of his wife’s apartment. He then held her captive along with her father and shot at both of them at close range. The shootings occurred in front of their 4-year-old son.

The incident came to light just after 8:00 p.m. last Friday, when a 911 operator received a domestic disturbance call from a woman in the Barrington Club apartments on the 10500 block of Sample Road in Coral Springs. More 911 calls were received from other neighbors who reported that gunshots had been fired.

Police encircled the apartment upon arrival. Mr. Maffei finally surrendered to police after they moved the victims to safety. Mr. Maffei has been charged with multiple offenses including two counts of attempted first-degree murder, armed burglary, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of false imprisonment and child abuse. Police said that the couple is currently separated and undergoing a divorce. Mr. Maffei is a retired US Air Force officer who currently resides in Parkland
“I saw my hand explode. He shot me from point-blank range. I was sort of waiting for that kill shot. I absolutely thought we were going to die.” Mrs. Maffei said. After being released from the hospital, she went on to say that the shooting culminates almost two years of physical and emotional abuse and was something she always feared.

In the 911 tape, Mrs. Maffei is first heard screaming for help telling the dispatcher that her estranged husband was banging at the door trying to shove his way in. Then, for numerous minutes she and others in her apartment are heard in the background screaming. The 911 operator assessing the situation alerts the police who are sent to the scene.

Maffei said on Thursday that her husband was continually screaming “You took my stuff” and then shot her and her father. Both the father and daughter each sustained two gunshot wounds.

The recording also revealed her repeatedly pleading for help and saying she couldn’t move. Her father’s ribs were broken by one of the bullets.

Mrs. Maffei has filed domestic violence cases against her husband five times and has unsuccessfully tried to get restraining orders on three separate occasions, court records show.

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