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Domestic violence victim's assault case retried

A 31-year-old Florida woman convicted of aggravated assault will have her case retried. In the previous trial, the woman had testified that she was the victim of domestic violence and claimed self-defense led to her firing one warning shot from a gun. After being found guilty by a jury and sentenced to 20 years, the woman's case gained the attention of several civil rights leaders. When an appeal was made, a judge ruled that the previous jury had received improper instructions on the laws concerning self-defense.

According to the woman, the incident was sparked when her husband became angry over some text messages she had sent to her ex-husband. After reading them, her husband attempted to strangle her. In an effort to flee the scene, the woman fired one warning shot at the wall with a handgun. At the time, two children had been standing in a room that prosecutors had claimed she fired towards.

In the original trial, the accused woman had unsuccessfully argued that her assault charges should be dropped based on Florida's Stand Your Ground Law. Taking only 12 minutes to deliberate, a jury later convicted her of aggravated assault. After spending over a year in prison, the woman was informed about the retrial in a phone conversation with her defense attorney. According to her lawyer, the woman was ecstatic and thankful to hear the good news.

Although many people believe a jury trial will benefit their defense, the jury must be properly instructed on the law for that to be true. Being well versed on self-defense law, an experienced domestic violence attorney may be able to ensure that the jury instructions are complete and accurate and that the defendant receives a fair trial.

Source: CNN, "New trial ordered for Florida woman in warning-shot case", Jason Hanna, September 28, 2013

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