Roland Martin talks with Rep. Corrine Brown about the latest in the Marissa Alexander case and what needs to be done in order to repeal “Stand Your Ground” laws. [Read below]
ROLAND MARTIN: …Yes, so in Florida folks we have been covering this Marissa Alexander case and she is gonna be retried in Florida on July 28th by prosecutor Angela Corey, of course, she is the woman who fired the warning shots into the ceiling and they say that because even though she did not hit her husband or the children, Florida law says that, well, look, it’s a mandatory minimum, and she was sentenced to prison by a jury after 12 minutes. But the judge threw it out because of faulty jury instructions. Now prosecutor Angela Corey wants to go after her. And now, because of the loss, she wants her to serve consecutive 20 year sentences.
SYBIL WILKES : Not concurrent.
ROLAND MARTIN: Not concurrent. Joining me right now is Congresswoman Corrine Brown. She has been very involved in this case. And Congresswoman, the law was changed from concurrent to consecutively, but from your vantage point you don’t believe that Corey should be trying her at all.
REP. CORRINE BROWN: That’s correct. And a different jury in Florida have made different verdicts. So it’s the House of Representatives and Senate needs to clarify the law. That’s the first thing.
ROLAND MARTIN: I also understand, Congresswoman, in Florida right now there is a deal going through the Florida legislature that would change the law when somebody fires a warning shot.
REP. CORRINE BROWN: That’s correct. It’s going through; the hearing will be on the 17th. And I’m encouraging people to come to Tallahassee, I know people that are coming on the 10th, but they need to come on the 17th and testify before the committee. It is very important. I mean it’s ludacris. You shoot a warning shot, the day it happens; now you have a restraining order. You was beaten when you were six months pregnant and put in the hospital. The baby came early. The baby was eight days old and you got 20 years for a warning shot, but yet you shoot and kill African American young men and you walk. There’s something wrong with that.
This law is sloppy. It’s too broad. And let me just say one important thing. When the jury gets the instructions, whether it’s argued in a court case or not, it is part of the jury’s instructions. Stand Your Ground is part of the instructions. So therefore it’s confusing.
ROLAND MARTIN: Now Angela Corey’s office says that they’ve been trying to work out a plea deal with Marissa Alexander and she has rejected all …
REP. CORRINE BROWN: She could have dropped the charges. So I guess you want her to take the 20 years. Let me tell you something, since Angela Corey has been in Duval County we had a 70% increase in direct filing of youth. So what do I mean by that? They are being filed as felons more than other county in the State of Florida. That’s the new slavery. Once you get three years that’s the end. So we, it’s an example that you can’t go to the poll and vote for the President and the Congresswoman and walk out. You got to vote for the attorney general. You got to vote for the state representatives and senators that make these laws. And you got to vote for the judges. You’ve got to go up and down that ballet and you got to educate yourself.
And I understand that Tom and others are coming to Florida. My recommendation is don’t drink the water because we absolutely stuck on stupid here in Florida. These laws started in 2005, it started in Florida, and it spread to 24 other states. And it’s like a cancer, and it needs to be eradicated.
TOM JOYNER: It’s being pushed by the NRA.
REP. CORRINE BROWN: Oh, absolutely and the Koch brothers. So we need to show up and we can’t just come one time. We got to come on the 10th, and we got to come back the next week, when they are hearing the bill. And basically we got to be more involved.
SYBIL WILKES : And when you say Koch brothers, you’re saying K-O-C-H.
REP. CORRINE BROWN: Yes, those are the brothers that …
SYBIL WILKES : These are the brothers that …
REP. CORRINE BROWN: Yeah, those are the brothers that we buy the toilet paper from.
SYBIL WILKES : Yes, ma’am.
TOM JOYNER: How can we find out which congress people around the country are being supported by the NRA?
REP. CORRINE BROWN: Well, we can get that information for you. And we got law students that can do the research for us. Let’s do it.
TOM JOYNER: Because that’s what’s happening here, in all these states, they’re passing laws. And the congress people are the people that pass laws.
ROLAND MARTIN: But on a state level you’re dealing with the state law makers.
TOM JOYNER: That’s right, the state law makers.
ROLAND MARTIN: Right.
REP. CORRINE BROWN: I spoke Monday before the state, one of the members who it’s his bill, he asked me, he said; do you know that the Supreme Court passed this? A ruling in year 1921? I looked at him; is he from another planet? From another planet? I am telling you it is very important. I love the rallies. You got to go to those committee hearings and speak up.
ROLAND MARTIN: Well, the committee hearings, but also the point that I made is you can rally the state capital, but when the rally is over you’ve got to move people to go meet with every law maker, go to every office, and you’ve got to bring constituents. So you got to say we got people from your district, from your area, who are here to meet with you. And you’re right, when they have these hearings, we got to pack those hearings out as well, and that’s why I keep saying; stop having these rallies and we’re not taking people’s names, numbers, emails, twitter addresses because you need to drive people to these hearings. Because often times, Congresswoman, in these hearings, they’re empty except for the people supporting the bill.
REP. CORRINE BROWN: That’s exactly correct. And that’s what happened Monday. After the rally and the NAACP was very organized, they had a wonderful rally, but the hearing started at 4 o’clock, there was nobody in there.
ROLAND MARTIN: Right, so a rally at 11 a.m.
REP. CORRINE BROWN: So we can organize, so we can have people in these hearings.
ROLAND MARTIN: That’s right. Congresswoman Corrine Brown, we certainly appreciate it, thank you so very much.
REP. CORRINE BROWN: Thank you all for your leadership.