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Florida lawmakers have updated the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law to cover warning shοts fired by residents. The change is an attempt to prevent people who fire warning shοts from being criminally prosecuted.
Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed the law on Friday in response to national outrage sparked by Marissa Alexander’s 20 year sentence for firing warning shοts.
Although Alexander’s attorney attempted to claim self defense, Alexander was still found guilty and sentenced to two decades behind bars.
Alexander’s defense team released a statement supporting the measure.
“We learned today that Governor Rick Scott has signed the corrective Stand Your Ground Bill, which was advanced by the legislature as a result of concern about Marissa’s case among others,” read the statement. “We are of course grateful for the governor’s actions.”
The bill allows judges to issue sentences without adhering to the 10-20-life mandatory minimum sentences now in place. The current law requires that a 10-20-life sentence be issued to anyone having committed a crime involving a gun.
Outrage over Alexander’s sentence was only exacerbated after George Zimmerman gunned down Trayvon Martin and was found not guilty.
Alexander was granted a new trial after 1st District Court of Appeals judge ruled that the judge did not properly instruct the jury during trial.
“We reject her contention that the trial court erred in declining to grant her immunity from prosecution under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law,” wrote Judge James H. Daniel, “but we remand for a new trial because the jury instructions on self-defense were erroneous.”