New Release: Associated Press
June 20, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Floridians who threaten to use a gun, or even fire a warning shot, could avoid criminal prosecution under a law signed by Gov. Rick Scott.
Scott on Friday signed the bill (HB 89) partially inspired by a Jacksonville woman initially sentenced to 20 years in prison after firing a shot near her estranged husband during an altercation. The woman, Marissa Alexander, is awaiting a new trial.
Alexander had tried to assert a "stand your ground" defense, but a judge rejected her claim. She was sentenced under the state's "10-20-Life" law that requires mandatory sentences for using a gun.
The new law, however, would allow for instances of threatened use of force without falling under the rule of "10-20-Life." It marks a significant change to the state's self-defense laws.