Stand Your Ground

The man who was carried across the Pensacola Bay Bridge on the hood of a vehicle is invoking Florida’s self-defense statute in his defense.

On June 7, while helping block the Pensacola Bay Bridge an SUV – later found to be driven by Nathan Matusz, drove into the crowd, forcing Uphaus onto the hood.

Attorney Chris Klotz represents Jason Uphaus, who last month was part of the “Black Lives Matter” protest at the 17th Street railroad trestle and Bay Bridge.

A controversy has exploded in Florida after Sen. Bill Nelson said there was evidence of Russia’s trying to hack into Florida’s voting records. His assertion was sharply criticized by Gov. Rick Scott, who is challenging Nelson for his seat, and state elections officials.

We discussed the matter with Gary Fineout, reporter for the Associated Press;

Duval County Supervisor of Elections Mike Hogan; and Jeff Kosseff, assistant professor in the Cyber Science Department at the U.S. Naval Academy.

There has been an arrest in the Clearwater 'stand your ground' case.

The State Attorney's office is charging Micheal Drejka with manslaughter in the death of Markeis McGlockton.

According to a press release, an arrest warrant was issued this Monday morning and Drejka is being booked into the Pinellas County Jail. His bond has been set at $100,000.

The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled on a case relating to Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law. The matter—which pit State prosecutors against public defenders and defense lawyers—was also a matter of contention during last year’s legislative session.

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; Andrew Pantazi, Florida Times-Union reporter; Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal editor; A.G. Gancarski, Folio Weekly and columnist.

Topics include Marissa Alexander's release from jail, former Atlantic Beach police chief Michael Classey taking a plea deal on five felony drug counts, the outcomes of local Republican primary elections this week, Gov. Rick Scott's budget, and more.

Shannon LeDuke / WJCT

The new film "3 ½ Minutes" just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. This documentary explores the shooting of Jacksonville teen Jordan Davis by Michael Dunn, Dunn's trials, and the controversy around Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense laws. We speak with Ron Davis, father of Jordan Davis, and Jacksonville attorney John Phillips, who represents the family.

Rhema Thompson

A Jacksonville woman went home from prison yesterday after originally being sentenced to 20 years for firing a warning shot at her estranged husband. Marissa Alexander will serve two years under house arrest but a judge stopped short of tacking on two additional years of probation prosecutors had sought.

Dozens of activists descended on the Duval County Courthouse lawn Tuesday afternoon. The caravans traveled from as far away as Berkeley, California, all for the expected release of Marissa Alexander.

Annie Thomas came from Miami with the Power U Center for Social Change.

Rhema Thompson

Three women will be allowed to testify that Marissa Alexander’s ex-husband had an abusive past, a judge has ruled. But that ruling comes with stipulations.


The Jacksonville mother that could face up to 60 years for shooting a firearm was back in court Thursday as several other women testified her estranged husband had a history of abuse.

Marissa Alexander, the Bostwick Building and Florida Blue are in the headlines today.


A circuit judge has ruled Marissa Alexander will not get a second chance to argue Stand Your Ground.

Duval County Public Schools

An attempt to add a self-defense provision to the newly revised Duval Schools Code of Student Conduct was shot down Tuesday evening.

Duval County Public Schools / Facebook

Changes proposed in the 2014-15 Duval County Schools Code of Student Conduct aim to take a more individualized and less stringent approach to penalizing students, but one school board member argued Tuesday that one such revision doesn’t go far enough.

Michael Dunn, Marissa Alexander, water taxis, and Sir Paul McCartney are in the headlines today.

Karen Feagins / WJCT

Duval County Public Schools, medical marijuana, and Lyme disease were among our top stories this week.

The Jacksonville City Council, Stand Your Ground, and "crack hoes" are in the headlines today.

On a recent morning, Jonel Edwards spoke with a group of Jacksonville youth. Behind her, a giant screen flashed pictures of young brown faces.

A ruling on whether Marissa Alexander will get a second "Stand Your Ground" hearing in her retrial won't be heard until June at the earliest, but the debate on the controversial state policy remains in the headlines.

Rhema Thompson / WJCT

Attorneys for Marissa Alexander will have to wait a little longer to argue Stand Your Ground in her upcoming case.


Stand Your Ground is back in the headlines  as a judge did not rule on whether Marissa Alexander will be granted another Stand Your Ground hearing during a pre-trial hearing Friday morning.

SCLC / Twitter

Jacksonville is one of a number of Florida cities where the Southern Christian Leadership Conference will hold rallies Tuesday morning.

marc falardeau / Flickr

Veteran Jacksonville City Councilwoman Denise Lee is on a mission.


Activists requesting a plea deal for Marissa Alexander say there have been discussions seeking one, but her attorneys are only saying they are getting ready for her upcoming retrial.

Wayman Ministries / Facebook

A group of high-profile Jacksonville pastors is calling for a plea deal in the Marissa Alexander case.

Orgainzation of American States / Livestream

The parents of two teenagers whose killings are at the center of the debate on Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law offered testimony today at a hearing before an international human rights commission.


A recent University of North Florida poll showed some interesting early numbers in this year's upcoming gubernatorial election.

Florida State College at Jacksonville, Adecco, and Stand Your Ground are in the headlines today.

There is concern that a bill moving through the Florida State Legislature would authorize legally armed residents to fire a warning shot at a perceived attacker, but as the proposed legislation stands now that simply isn't the case.

The Southbank Riverwalk, Keith Haring's Ghost, and Stand Your Ground are in the headlines today.

Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground self-defense law got a few unchallenged tweaks from the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Monday. 
Developed jointly by Broward County Democrat Chris Smith and Republican David Simmons of Seminole County, the changes make it clear that no one can start a fight and then claim legal immunity under Stand Your Ground. It also creates a legal basis for wounded bystanders to file lawsuits, even when the shooting was in self-defense. 
Smith, who led a task force that tried to change the law after the Trayvon Martin shooting, said he wasn't happy with all of the compromises he had to make this time, but he's glad Stand Your Ground is getting attention.