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Marissa Alexander accepts plea deal, is expected to be released in January
Alexander pled guilty to three counts of aggravated assault. She will reportedly be released in January
After 1,030 days in jail and faced with a possible 60 year sentence for firing a warning shot to ward off her abusive husband, Marissa Alexander accepted a plea agreement on Monday that will likely end her incarceration come January.
As part of the agreement, Alexander pled guilty to three counts of aggravated assault and was sentenced to three years in prison. The 1,030 days she has already spent in jail will be counted toward that sentence, but Alexander will still be incarcerated for another 65 days.
But as the Associated Press reported, the second count against Alexander is considered an “open plea,” meaning that she could still be sentenced to five years at the judge’s discretion. After her release, Alexander will be ordered to spend two years under “community control,” she will be held under house arrest and required to wear a monitoring device.
The plea deal will mean that after more than 1,000 days in jail, after being vilified by state attorney Angela Corey, after being twice denied the ability to invoke stand your ground to justify the warning shot she fired to defend herself against a man who had threatened to kill her — a shot that harmed no one — she will be able to go home.
“The plea deal is a relief in some ways, but this is far from a victory. The deal will help Marissa and her family avoid yet another very expensive and emotionally exhausting trial that could have led to the devastating ruling of spending the rest of her life in prison,” Alisa Bierria, of the Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign, said in a statement.
“Marissa’s children, family, and community need her to be free as soon as possible. However, the absurdity in Marissa’s case was always the fact that the courts punished and criminalized her for surviving domestic violence, for saving her own life. The mandatory minimum sentences of 20 years, and then 60 years, just made the state’s prosecution increasingly shocking. But we have always believed that forcing Marissa to serve even one day in prison represents a profound and systemic attack on black women’s right to exist and all women’s right to self-defense.”
California voters passed a groundbreaking ballot measure this month that reduces penalties and sentences for non-violent, “non-serious” crimes. Now, the private industry is responding to these changes in public attitudes and declining prison populations by opening up new lines of business.
A new report released by American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Grassroots Leadership, and the Southern Center for Human Rights highlights the expansion of the private prison industry into other profitable and growing areas in the criminal justice system: prison and jail subcontracted medical care; forensic mental hospitals and civil commitment centers; as well as “community corrections” programs such as probation and halfway houses.
The report authors have named this new expanded private corrections industry as the “treatment industrial complex” via the report. As other states follow California’s lead and pass laws reducing mandatory minimum sentences, the report urges policy makers, advocates and others to ensure that private corporations can’t profit from any part of the criminal justice system. Please read and share the report, The Treatment Industrial Complex: How For-Profit Prison Corporations are Undermining Efforts to Treat and Rehabilitate Prisoners for Corporate Profit
For the First Time Ever, a Prosecutor Will Go to Jail for Wrongfully Convicting an Innocent Man | Mark Godsey 11.2013
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BY DON THOMPSON
In late September, an appellate court in Texas overturned their mother’s 2007 conviction in the salt poisoning death of Andrew Burd, a 4-year-old boy whom Hannah Overton and her husband Larry were trying to adopt. After Overton’s six years in prison, she and her family rejoiced at the prospect of finally being reunited. But it has been eight weeks since the higher court ruling, there has yet to be a reunion, and family and friends of the 37-year-old mother are left wondering why she is still behind bars.
“Now, well into November, we still wait once again for someone with authority to act rationally,” said Rod Carver, the Overton family’s pastor. “I put our people on red alert more than five times preparing to receive Hannah out of incarceration. It’s my opinion that this is not about Hannah or Andrew, it’s about a power struggle and an image issue with the forces that be.”