Hike sentence

Voting error results in 6-year jail term for black woman in Tennessee

By postal staff

Pamela Moses, a Black Lives Matter activist in Memphis, Tennessee, was sentenced to six years in prison for attempting to register to vote.

His conviction last fall and sentencing on February 4 was met with fury by black leaders and political progressives.

Janai Nelson, the associate director-attorney of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, told NBC News that this is another level of voter suppression aimed at shattering democracy in the United States today.

Pamela Moses, a black woman, was sentenced to six years in prison due to a voting error,” Nelson’s tweet said. “Meanwhile, white individuals who are known to have committed gross voter fraud have only received probation. There are two criminal justice systems in America.

Referring to it as a “paper case,” Josh Spickler, executive director of an advocacy group called Just City, questioned why he was prosecuted at all given the spike in violent crime in Memphis.

“Elected officials have used incredible amounts of resources at a time when there is a backlog in this justice system the likes of which we have never seen before. They are using resources to try… (to) convict this woman for trying to vote,” he told the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Moses, a former felon who wanted to run for mayor in 2019, tried to register to vote but was turned down.

Believing the denial was related to a miscalculation of the terms of her sentence, Moses contacted the Department of Corrections, where an official filled out the voter registration application for her, and then the County Board of Elections approved his request.

What Moses didn’t know was that under Tennessee law, her right to vote was permanently revoked after she was arrested in 2015 when she accepted a guilty plea because she couldn’t stand. allow a bond of $500,000. “They never mentioned anything about not voting, being able to vote…any of that,” Moses said.

Moses would pay dearly for what she didn’t know, because once the error on her voter registration application was discovered, the election commission, as was routine, notified the district attorney’s office.

What was not common is that Moïse would then be charged with perjury and falsification of an electoral document. This time Moses refused to plead guilty because she did not believe she had done anything wrong.

District Attorney Amy Weirich, a Republican, touted the success of her case, catching the attention of conservative pundits nationwide. “What we had proven, we presented to this jury, and they listened to the evidence. They listened to the facts. They applied their common sense and they returned the guilty verdict,” she said in a statement to WREG, a Memphis television station.

At last November’s trial, Moïse’s defense showed that the mistakes were made by government authorities, but the jury and judge believed that Moïse knowingly tried to overturn the law.

“I didn’t tamper with anything,” Moses said during his sentencing hearing. “All I did was try to get my vote back like the people at the electoral commission told me and like the clerk did.”

Judge Mark Ward didn’t.

“You tricked the probation service into giving you documents that said you were off probation,” said Ward, who is reportedly considering granting him probation after serving nine months.

Moses’ attorney, Bede Anyanwu, told the Washington Post that his client would appeal. “This case is one about disparity in sentencing and sentencing – and a case that shouldn’t have happened.”

According to Sam Levine, Opinion Editor for The Guardian, “Republicans who actually voted illegally on behalf of relatives they knew for certain were dead each received light sentences. The black woman who thought she was allowed to register to vote is set to spend the next 72 months in jail.

At a press conference after her sentencing, Moses, 44, was joined by a dozen supporters holding signs despite an ice storm reading “Trying to vote is not a crime” and “Justice for Pamela”, read signs.

In 2015, Moses pleaded guilty to two felonies and three misdemeanors, which earned him seven years’ probation. The felony convictions made her permanently ineligible to vote in Tennessee.

According to the offense, Tennessee is one of several states disenfranchising former felons. California is one of 21 states where disenfranchisement ends once incarceration ends. Maine, Vermont and Washington, DC allow prisoners to vote by mail.

“I relied on the election commission because those are the people who are supposed to know what you’re supposed to do,” Moses told station WREG in Memphis. “And I found out they didn’t know.”

Reports from The Memphis Commercial Appeal, The Guardian, The Washington Post, BET, WREG-TV and MSNBC were sources for this report.