On Tuesday Marissa Alexander, a Florida woman and mother who fired warning shots at her abusive husband to stop his coming attack, recently was released from a Jacksonville, Florida prison to serve the remainder of her sentence on house arrest. Alexander was put on trial in what became known as the “warning shot” case.

From Reuters, “Marissa Alexander, 31, said she fired a “warning shot” into a wall after being threatened by her husband in an incident in 2010, but prosecutors believe the bullet endangered him and his two children.”

The trial sparked a national debate on Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, and racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.

But according to reports, Alexander now faces other obstacles in her way to freedom, “The monitoring system will cost around $105 a week, and will total some $11,000 over the two years that Alexander will be under house arrest,” says The Root.

The Root: “Donations collected since Alexander’s arrest will cover the cost of the monitoring, and the news station notes that Alexander already has a job offer from a local pastor, under his ministry.”

With all that this woman has been forced to endure, there is a pressing question that must be asked. Is this what justice looks like?


Like so many in the country I am excited that Marissa Alexander is going home to her family where she belongs. I am excited, but in the same way I believe the family of Jordan Davis was handed “scraps of justice” in the Michael Dunn murder retrial, Alexander, too, received scraps.

Her story and this new decision by Judge James Daniel has a reconciliatory and vindicating feeling about it. Yes, her case prompted the creation of a new law that would cover warning shots fired, and this change in law would have most likely protected her from prison time.

But when you look at this reactive legislation and the actual beneficiaries of “Stand Your Ground” in Florida, particularly in the George Zimmerman case for the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, that question, “is this what justice looks like,” must be asked.

Her conviction and her expensive house arrest further displays the systematic racism that permeates the criminal justice/legal system, socio-cultural, and economic landscapes in the United States.

“I will continue to learn lessons from the events of the past, but I will not live in the past,” Alexander said.