You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Memo to Florida: WHY WOULD YOU EVEN DO THAT?
Florida's justice system has had a rough year, from a public relations standpoint. They're rapidly becoming famous for letting white people off the hook for shooting black people, for sufficiently loose definitions of "white" in one case and "off the hook" in the other.
It seems to me that, if you're having this kind of public relations nightmare, you'd want to downplay it. You'd want to avoid doing things that perhaps would reinforce your state's image as batshit insane, racist, and weird about guns. It seems that way to me because I am a rational fucking human being, and not, say, Florida state prosecutor Angela Lorey.
During the George Zimmerman bullshit, you may have heard the related story of Marissa Alexander, a black woman, who fired a warning shot into the wall of her house in an attempt to scare off her abusive husband. While Florida was failing to convict George Zimmerman for actually shooting and actually killing an actual person who was armed with Skittles and Arizona iced tea, they were convicting Alexander and sentencing her to three concurrent 20-year prison sentences.
This fact was made public thanks to the public scrutiny of the Zimmerman trial, and thanks to the attention, Alexander won her appeal and the conviction was overturned. Justice prevails in Florida for a change, right? Wrong. This is motherfucking Florida. They're not going down like that.
First, they're retrying Alexander. I don't know why. Maybe they have to? Or maybe they're just spiteful fucks who can't admit that they're wrong?
As part of the retrial, Angela Corey has stated that instead of the three 20 year concurrent sentences for three counts of aggravated assault, she will seek three consecutive 60 year sentences, or approximately 60 more years than Zimmerman got, because fuck you, that's why.
In their defense, Florida prosecutors are blaming the Florida legislature, which, admittedly, is always a safe bet. And the legislature did enact mandatory sentencing laws that means each charge would bring a 20 year sentence. And yes, fuck them for doing that, and fuck the racist, fearmongering "tough on crime" politics that convince politicians to vote for shit like that.
Apparently, sentencing laws also shifted between her original prosecution and the retrial, leading to the push for consecutive sentences. Because, again, fucking Florida. But there are also clear signs that spite is in play, as evidenced by this telling statement from assistant Attorney General Richard Mantel. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!
“Absent a plea agreement, if convicted as charged, the law of the State of Florida fixes the sentence,” Mantei said. “At this time, Ms. Alexander has rejected all efforts by the State to resolve the case short of trial.”
In other words, if you're not gonna play ball and accept that you're guilty of something, instead of making a bunch of noise and making us look bad, well, we've gotta do what we've gotta do. Whether it makes any sense or not.
I find it VERY difficult to believe that, in the swampy, gator-infested Wild West horror show that is the Florida judicial system, that anyone's hands are that firmly tied when it comes to prosecution. Or that anyone would notice, or raise a fuss, if the overturned convicton had been the end of Marissa Alexander's public story. Even if they did it just to keep from looking like fuckwits, it'd be a win-win.