A Black Lives Matter chapter founder in Tennessee was sentenced to six years in prison for illegally registering to vote while serving probation.
“You tricked the probation department into giving you documents saying you were off probation,” Criminal Court Judge W. Mark Ward told the founder of the Black Lives Matter chapter in Memphis, Pamela Moses, on Monday.
Moses pleaded guilty in 2015 to felonies including tampering with evidence and forgery, as well as misdemeanor charges of perjury, stalking, theft under $500, and escape. She was ineligible to vote in Tennessee due to her tampering with evidence charge and was currently serving seven years of probation.
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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.
However, the officials who signed off on the application admitted they made an error when they said her probation was over, the Washington Post reported.
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“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.
Moses founded the local BLM chapter in Memphis. She also ran for mayor in Memphis in 2019, but learned she could not be on the ballot due to her serving probation.
She will now serve six years and one day in prison, but her lawyer said Moses plans to appeal the sentencing.
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“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.”