Savannah Hulsey Pointer, FISM News
Black Lives Matter Tennessee chapter leader Pamela Moses was sentenced to six years in prison on Monday following a conviction for registering to vote while on probation.
According to a report by Fox News, the Memphis chapter founder for BLM was sentenced by Judge W. Mark Ward in criminal court, where the judge castigated Moses for having “tricked” officials into allowing her to vote.
“You tricked the probation department into giving you documents saying you were off probation,” Ward told the founder of the Black Lives Matter chapter in Memphis on Monday.
“I relied on the election commission because those are the people who are supposed to know what you’re supposed to do,” she told WREG before her sentencing. “And I found out that they didn’t know.”
Moses, 44, pled guilty to tampering with evidence and forgery, as well as misdemeanor charges of perjury, stalking, theft under $500, and escape in 2015, making her ineligible to vote in Tennessee due to the charge of tampering with evidence. She was in the midst of serving seven years probation for her offenses when she applied to vote.
“Moses contended during her hearing last week that she believed she could vote again despite her convictions, because the corrections department and county election commission both signed off on her voter registration application in 2019,” Fox News reported.
The officials who signed off on her application reportedly admitted to making an error when they put down that her probation was completed, according to a report by The Washington Post.
“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,” she said at the hearing before being convicted to six years and one day in prison.
Moses’ attorney said the convicted felon plans to appeal the sentencing. “This case is one about the disparity in sentencing and punishment — and one that shouldn’t have happened,” attorney Bede Anyanwu told the Washington Post. “It’s all very, very disturbing.”
Moses is not only the founder of the local BLM chapter in Memphis, but she also ran for mayor in Memphis in 2019, before learning she could not be on the ballot due to the fact that she was still serving probation.
The case is expected to give rise to increased national tension, according to the Washington Post. Associate director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Janai Nelson, told MSNBC that Moses is “likened to Black people such as Hervis Rogers and Crystal Mason, who’ve faced years in prison over mistakes about their voting eligibility,” according to the Post.
“It points to everything that is wrong in our democracy,” Nelson, who is not involved in the Moses case, told host Rachel Maddow. “It’s a confluence of racial discrimination and voter suppression.”
The former mayoral candidate asserts she was not made aware that she would permanently lose her rights to vote when she was offered a deal where she pled guilty to felony charges years before.