Jacksonville Self-Defense and Aggravated Assault Case Resolved

On March 16, 2012, a Duval County Florida jury found Marissa Alexander guilty of three counts of aggravated assault in Jacksonville.  On May 11, 2012, Alexander was convicted of the assault charges and sentenced to serve 20-year concurrent sentences on all three counts, due to the fact that the minimum mandatory sentence in her case was 20 years.  In 2013, the appellate court reversed and remanded the case sending it back to the trial court.  Alexander was entitled to a new trial.  The Florida 1st District Court of Appeals reverse and remanded the case due to problems with the self-defense jury instruction.

Alexander’s jury selection for her retrial was set to begin on December 1, 2014, but this case will not end up before a jury again.  News4jax.com released breaking news in this Jacksonville criminal law case:

“As Marissa Alexander’s final pretrial hearing began Monday afternoon she pleaded guilty to three years, but will only serve an additional 65 days in jail, then two years of house arrest. Alexander told Judge James Daniel she was prepared to start serving her term immediately…. Under the terms of Monday’s plea deal on two of three counts against her, Alexander agreed to time already served from her time behind bars in her first conviction and her time served while awaiting trial, plus the 65 additional days in jail. She will be allowed to go to work, job interviews, family and family medical/dental appointments and visit her children’s school. All other requests must be approved by the judge. Judge Daniel withheld a ruling on the third count for which she could serve up to five years pending her successful completion of the terms of her plea agreement.”

Controversy has surrounded Alexander’s case.  Alexander’s criminal lawyers argued that her actions were justified under Florida’s self-defense laws.  The State of Florida contended that she did not act in self-defense.  Alexander’s plea deal was a negotiation between the State of Florida and the Defendant.  It is normal to make plea negotiations and enter into an agreement in criminal cases.  During a plea negotiations, the Duval County State Attorney and the Jacksonville criminal lawyer make offers to settle the case without a trial.  Not only must both parties agree, but also the judge must approve the proposed sentence.  If the judge does not approve the sentence, the case will not be resolved in the manner negotiated.  In Alexander’s case, Judge Daniel approved the sentence presented by the State and defense.  So long as Alexander does not violate the terms of her plea agreement and Jacksonville probation sentence, including her house arrest condition, she will not be subject to additional jail time for this aggravated assault case.

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