JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Three days after a Florida jury found George Zimmerman not guilty for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the Rev. Jesse Jackson visited Jacksonville to call attention to another self-defense case that he called a "travesty" of justice.
Jackson spent an hour in a jailhouse visit with Marissa Alexander, 32, an African American who was sentenced to a mandatory 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot into the wall of her home in 2010 to end a violent argument with her abusive husband.
"In one case Mr. Zimmerman kills a young man and walks away, free to kill again," Jackson said. "And Marissa shot no one, hurt no one, and she's in jail for 20 years."
Jackson said the contrast in the Zimmerman and Alexander cases exposed injustices in the justice system.
"We see radical racial polarization in the judicial system," Jackson told the Florida Times-Union. "That's a cause of great concern."
After meeting with Alexander, Jackson spoke with Angela Corey, the state prosecutor who handled both the Martin and the Alexander cases. Corey told him that Alexander's case is in the appeal phase and out of her jurisdiction, but Jackson said he asked her to use her power to see that Alexander is released.
"Ours was a moral appeal," he said. "This mother has three children. They need their mother," he said, noting that Alexander had already served the three years originally offered to her by the state in a plea deal.