The Alexander and Giles SYG Cases
Good news for Marissa Alexander.
On August 1, 2010, State Attorney Angela Corey filed aggravated assault charges against Alexander that carries a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence when a gun is involved. Marissa Alexander was convicted on three counts of aggravated assault after firing a warning shot at her ex-husband inside their home in August 2010. In a 12-page decision, on September 26, 2013, the First District Court of Appeal in Florida wrote that it rejected Alexander’s contention that the trial court erred in declining to grant her immunity from prosecution under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, but it found that “the jury instructions on self-defense were erroneous” and ordered a retrial. The decision reverses a May 2012 lower court decision that denied a retrial.
By comparison, The First District Court of Appeal entered a 2-page decision in Michael Gile’s case, affirming his conviction without comment, but reversed and remanded on an error of fines applied by the State.
While on active duty with the Unites States Air Force and stationed in Tampa, Florida, on February 6, 2010, Michael Giles, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, was invited by a friend to a party in Tallahassee, Florida. Shortly after arriving at their destination the group found themselves in a volatile atmosphere. The entire club of patrons was pushed outside by security and Michael was separated from his friends, who were the only two people he knew in the area. Witnesses on the scene stated there were between 20-40 people fighting, describing it as mayhem, dangerous, and even deadly.
Michael was rushed by a crowd of people from the front. He tried to move but his unknown attacker struck him from behind, at which point he fell to the ground.
At his trial, several witnesses stated that Michael was just standing to the side not provoking anyone, or causing a commotion. A close friend of Michael’s attacker testified that she was worried he would seriously injure or kill someone if he did not stop. Michael’s attacker testified in open court, “I wanted to badly hurt the next person I saw”. He admitted that Michael did nothing to provoke him.
Michael had a legal right to carry and conceal. In the United States Air Force, Michael was trained to handle a firearm. Michael feared that the angry mob would turn on him and he would be killed or seriously injured. He fired a warning shot to get away from his attackers. Like Marissa Alexander, Michael Giles was charged with aggravated assault. He was sentenced to 25 years.
Michael’s mom is petitioning Florida Governor Scott to commute the sentence.
As of the writing of this post, the petition has 49,629 signatures and needs 371 more. You can also visit the website, http://www.justiceformike.com/
By yet another comparison, in one of his statements, George Zimmerman stated that he did not know whether he actually shot Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman fired his gun in a residential area where he had seen that nearby residents were home. Yet, according to Zimmerman, after firing his gun, he had no concern for where the bullet went but instead, jumped on Trayvon’s back, commanded that he stay still, and checked to see if anything was in Trayvon’s hands. The State did not include aggravated assault as a lesser charge in the Zimmerman case.