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Memphis Woman Who Was Convicted For Trying To Register To Vote While On Probation Freed From Charges

Pamela Moses, the Memphis woman who was sentenced to six years in prison for trying to register to vote before completing probation, has been freed from all criminal charges. Moses was convicted last year after prosecutors said she violated the Tennessee law which requires people with felonies to complete all terms of their sentence, including probation and parole, before they can vote.

The Memphis resident was sentenced to probation for a 2015 felony conviction, The Guardian reports. While facing charges for trying to register to vote, Moses said she didn’t know that she was ineligible. Prosecutors, however, said she knew she was ineligible and had deceived her probation officer into filling out a form indicating that she was done with probation.

After being sentenced in January, Moses filed a motion asking for a new trial. Criminal Court Judge Mark Ward overturned the conviction in February and granted Moses a second trial, ABC 24 reports. However, the second trial will no longer take place.

Amy Weirich, the Shelby county district attorney who prosecuted the case, released a statement on Friday, saying Moses “will not be tried a second time on the felony charges of illegally registering to vote.”

Although Moses will not face a second trial, she is still banned from voting.

“In the interest of judicial economy, we are dismissing her illegal registration case and her violation of probation,” Weirich said, adding that Moses has been barred from “voting in Tennessee as a result of her 2015 conviction for Tampering with Evidence.”

According to the district attorney, the “original offer to the defendant Pamela Moses was a guilty plea to a misdemeanor and no time to serve.”

“She rejected that offer and asked for a jury trial. At the conclusion of the week-long trial, the jury convicted her on the felony charge of false entry on permanent voter registration,” Weirich said. “She was taken into custody and spent 75 days in jail before Judge Ward granted her motion for new trial. In total, she has spent 82 days in custody on this case, which is sufficient.”

Josh Spickler, executive director of Just City, a non-profit organization which advocates for fairness in Shelby County’s criminal justice system, said Moses’ case is another example of Black voters facing discrimination.

“Prosecuting Ms. Moses was a thinly-veiled attempt to send a message to Black voters in this community. The decision to dismiss her charges came late on a Friday and only after a national media outcry in an election year,” Spickler told The Commercial Appeal. “The decision whether to wield the immense power of the State of Tennessee against one of its citizens should be made in the interest of justice alone, not electoral politics and public relations.”

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