Jury convicts woman of reduced charges for firing shots at another vehicle

A jury convicted a Jacksonville woman of reduced charges in connection with her shooting into a car at a driver and her passengers. The charges have varied in this Jacksonville Gun Crimes Case that dates back to 2011. Ultimately, she was convicted of three counts of attempted manslaughter, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police said the woman fired shots from a pistol from her car at another vehicle and, when the other driver tried to escape, the woman continued to follow and continued to fire shots at the vehicle, according to the newspaper report.

The woman was first charged in 2011 with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison, so a total of 15. Prosecutors then upgraded the charges to attempted murder, second-degree felonies, and those are the charges that were brought to the jury in this Jacksonville Gun Crimes Case. In the end, the jury found the woman was not guilty of attempted murder, but instead guilty of attempted manslaughter. In the grand scheme of things, there’s little difference in the bottom line. Florida’s 10-20-Life laws dictate the sentencing in the Jacksonville Gun Crimes Case anyway, though the jury doesn’t know that when they are deliberating on charges. Possible sentencing cannot be discussed in front of the jury because it could sway their opinion. The case is to be judged solely on the facts alone, not on any potential punishment. In Florida, prosecutors can choose to apply the 10-20-Life laws related to gun crimes and the minimum mandatory sentences that go with them. When applied, a person can receive a 10-year minimum sentence for showing a gun during the commission of a felony. The 20-year minimum mandatory applies when a gun is fired and the life sentence can come in when someone is hit.

These minimum penalties have been highly scrutinized and there has been some movement in the state legislature to give more latitude to judges, but for now these are the laws that apply in Jacksonville Gun Crimes Cases. One of the biggest issues with these sentences is that judges have ruled they must be applied consecutively. In this Jacksonville Gun Crimes case, the woman was convicted of three counts. So each 20-year sentence must be severed separately, meaning she has a mandatory sentence of 60 years in state prison. In most cases, judges have the discretion to run the sentences concurrently, means all three 20-years sentences at once so the total sentence is only 20 years. So while the reduced charge sounds good, it ultimately means the same lengthy prison sentence as the murder charge.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Gun Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.