Jacob Sullum

But at the July 2011 hearing where Alexander argued that the charges against her should be dismissed because she had acted in self-defense, Gray -- who immediately after the fight portrayed her as the aggressor, then said in his deposition three months later that he had lied out of anger -- changed his story again, saying he had lied in his deposition to protect her. Circuit Judge Elizabeth Senterfitt rejected Alexander's motion to dismiss, saying she could have escaped through the front or back door instead of going to the garage.

Yet Florida's self-defense law says "a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat" if "he or she reasonably believes" it is necessary to prevent "imminent death or great bodily harm" or "the imminent commission of a forcible felony." In 1999, furthermore, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that a woman attacked by her husband in the home they share has no duty to flee.

On March 16, after deliberating for 12 minutes, a jury convicted Alexander on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Although she injured no one, she faces a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence unless she can win a new trial.


Jacob Sullum

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine and a contributing columnist on Townhall.com.
 
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