Founder of Black Lives Matter Memphis, Pamela Moses has been sentenced to six years in prison.
The 44-year-old has been sentenced to prison for illegally registering to vote after pleading guilty to felonies in 2015.
She voted illegally six times since she pleaded guilty to evidence tampering, forgery, perjury, stalking, and theft under $500, seven years ago.
However, Moses is currently claiming ignorance of her ongoing probation. According to the activist, her voting rights were reinstated in 2019.
During sentence hearing on January 26, Moses said, “I did not falsify anything. All I did was try to get my rights to vote back the way the people at the election commission told me and the way the clerk did.”
Judge Mark Ward accused her of ‘tricking the probation department’ to illegally obtain the right to vote.
Ward said, “You tricked the probation department into giving you documents saying you were off probation. After you were convicted of a felony in 2015, you voted six times as a convicted felon.”
However, Moses maintained that no one told her she didn’t have the right to vote when she pleaded guilty in 2015.
The Political Science graduate of the University of Tennessee found out she was still on probation in 2019 and after trying to run for mayor.
Following a judge’s confirmation of it, she visited a probations officer to make sure her probation was correct. Afterward, the probation officer provided the activist with a certification of completion, which she turned in to receive her right to vote.
Last year, the mother-of-two told the Guardian, “They never mentioned anything about voting. They never mentioned anything about not voting, being able to vote…none of that.”
It was also reported that Tennessee authorities should have taken her off the rolls, but Memphis officials never received the paperwork at the time.
The activist and musician became aware of the situation when she tried to run mayor in Memphis and was told she would be unable to due to her felonies. Until then did officials realised that she had never been taken off the registered voter list.
Moses then went to court to see if she was still on probation. Afterward, she went to the probation office to have her sentence confirmed, as she believed it was too long, and an official signed a certificate saying her probation had ended.
Days later, a corrections officer wrote an email to an election official saying Moses had not completed her probation and therefore was ineligible to vote.
During her trial, prosecutors said Moses knew she was ineligible when she submitted the certificate, as a judge had recently told her she was still on probation.
“Even knowing that order denied her expiration of sentence, Pamela Moses submitted that form with her application for voter registration and signed an oath as to the accuracy of the information submitted,” prosecutors wrote. “Pamela Moses knowingly made or consented to a false entry on her permanent registration.”
She is currently maintaining that she was “convicted of altering a document that I didn’t even sign.”
“I did not falsify anything. All I did was try to get my rights to vote back the way the people at the election commission told me and the way the clerk did,” Moses said in January.
She was charged with falsely asserting that her probation ended.
Currently, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund is fighting for her, stating that there are ‘two sentencing systems’ in the U.S., as others with similar stories only received probation for voter fraud.
Janai Nelson of the Legal Defense Fund, “Those who intentionally committed voter fraud, they are sentenced to probation.
“There are two criminal justice systems, two sentencing systems when it comes to these issues and you could not ask for a more stark contrast about justice in our country.”
Having been in custody since December 10, Moses is expected to appeal the decision.
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