Activist won’t face 2nd trial for illegal voting sign-up
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Prosecutors will no longer pursue illegal voter registration charges against a Tennessee woman who was granted a new trial after she challenged her jury conviction, a district attorney said Friday.
Charges against Black Lives Matter activist Pamela Moses, 44, were being dismissed and she will no longer face a second trial “in the interest of judicial economy,” Shelby County district attorney Amy Weirich said in a statement.
Moses, who had prior felonies, was convicted in November of registering to vote illegally in Memphis in 2019 and was sentenced Jan. 31 to six years and one day in prison. She has said she was unaware that she was ineligible to vote. At the time, legal experts said her sentence was excessive.
Moses filed a motion asking for a new trial. In February, Criminal Court Judge Mark Ward overturned her conviction and granted Moses a second trial — which now won’t take place.
In all, Moses has spent 82 days in custody on the case, “which is sufficient,” Weirich said in her statement.
Moses declined comment through a representative Friday.
Moses’ previous felony convictions permanently barred her from voting. In 2015, she pleaded guilty to two felonies as well as three misdemeanors and was placed on probation for seven years. Moses said she thought her probation from the 2015 guilty plea had ended, and that she could begin working to restore her voting rights. Moses said the Tennessee Department of Correction gave her a certificate saying her probation had ended, but then rescinded the certificate.
Prosecutors said in February that Moses’ sentence was overturned and a new trial ordered because the Tennessee Department of Correction failed to turn over “a necessary document” in the case.
Judge Ward said at the time that he was treating that error as “an inadvertent failure.”