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"Stand your ground" law could be at play again in Marissa Alexander case

Reported by: Sam King
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Updated: 11/01/2013 8:28 pm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Marissa Alexander's defense attorneys gave few clues about their strategy in her new trial, except to say that the "Stand Your Ground" defense will likely be a part of that strategy.

"Stand Your Ground could be at play in any sort of case like this where a person is acting in self-defense in their own home," said Bruce Zimet, Alexander's attorney.

In its opinion granting a new trial for Alexander, the First District Court of Appeal found the trial judge provided erroneous jury instructions in regard to self-defense. It found the judge wrongly said Alexander had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she was in fear of harm, not just raise a reasonable doubt.

At the same time, it rejected Alexander's claim that Judge James H. Daniel erred in declining to grant her immunity from prosecution under the "Stand Your Ground" defense. Daniel found Alexander had not proven she was justified in using deadly force in self-defense when she fired her gun. Alexander's attorneys claim she fired a warning shot, while prosecutors allege she fired in the direction of her husband and stepchildren, narrowly missing them.

But attorneys in the criminal field said that since this is a new trial, "Stand Your Ground" can be brought up again.

"This is a do-over. Her conviction is set aside and she again is presumed innocent," said Randy Reep, a defense attorney in Jacksonville.

Two recent high-profile cases show divergent examples of how "Stand Your Ground" can be used in a case. George Zimmerman's attorneys opted to not to pursue that avenue in the case of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. But attorneys for Michael Dunn, the man accused of shooting teenager Jordan Davis, opted not to use it.

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