Memphis Black Lives Matter Founder Slapped with Six-Year Prison Sentence
The founder of a Black Lives Matter chapter in Memphis, Tennessee, will be heading to prison after being sentenced to six years and one day.
Activist Pamela Moses said it was the fault of elections officials and others that she was not told when she signed up to vote in 2019 that a previous felony conviction meant she had been permanently barred from voting.
“This case is one about the disparity in sentencing and punishment — and one that shouldn’t have happened,” her attorney, Bede Anyanwu, told the Washington Post. Anyanwu said Moses will appeal, adding, “It’s all very, very disturbing.”
Memphis BLM founder Pamela Moses sentenced 6 years for illegally voting https://t.co/BIkmpXjrSG pic.twitter.com/pfXUPpWvPh
— New York Post (@nypost) February 6, 2022
Moses has said she did nothing wrong.
“I did not falsify anything,” she claimed.
Court Judge W. Mark Ward did not see it that way.
“You tricked the probation department into giving you documents saying you were off probation,” Ward said in, according to the Post.
Ward said Moses could be put on probation after nine months if she completes prison programs and shows good behavior, according to WHBQ-TV.
The case of Moses is complex because she had 16 previous felony convictions, according to a news release from Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich.
Anyanwu said Moses entered guilty pleases regardless of her innocence “given the fact that she is a lady of limited resources,” the Post reported.
“She, like some of my clients, plead guilty because they don’t have the money to fight these battles,” he said.
In 2015, Moses pleaded guilty to a 10-count indictment that included charges of perjury, stalking and tampering with evidence. The tampering charges meant she lost her voting rights. Moses said she was never informed about that.
“They never mentioned anything about voting,” she told the outlet. “They never mentioned anything about not voting, being able to vote … none of that.”
In 2019, an application to vote was filed and accepted, then the state Department of Correction told the Shelby County Election Commission it should not have been approved.
Moses insists she was never told the application was in fact rejected and proceeded to vote anyhow.
At her trial in December, Ward said she “voted six times as a convicted felon.”
Moses, however, says it is all about race.
“They want to pick and control who the black leaders are in the South. And they do it through voter suppression. They suppressed my right to vote forever,” Moses said, according to WREG-TV.
Moses said she had no idea what was taking place when the charges of illegal voting were lodged against her.
“I didn’t even know I was going to trial until like a few days before this,” Moses said.
Weirich said her office simply relied on the facts.
“Felons are not allowed to vote in the state of Tennessee unless their rights have been restored by court,” Weirich said. “What we had proved, we presented to that jury, and they listened to the evidence. They listened to the facts. They applied their common sense, and they returned the verdict of guilty.”
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