Tennessee’s woman, who illegally registered to vote in Tennessee while she was on probation, received a sentence last month of six years and one-day imprisonment. Given the nature and severity of the crime, the punishment was widely condemned by advocates, advocacy groups and the prosecutor.
Each of these are different. Amy Weirich of Shelby County District Attorney believes that the sentence for prison is not appropriate to the situation. OffenseShe says that it It isPamela Moses (the defendant) insisted that the trial be held.
Weirich stated in a statement that she gave Weirich the opportunity to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and no jail time. She requested instead a jury trial. The unfortunate end was set by she. Her peers heard the evidence to convict her.
Six years freedom for the exercise of a constitutional right is quite a price.
In September 2019, Moses—who lost her right to vote after a 2015 conviction—requested that the corrections department approve a certificate to restore those rights, which would require the agency to confirm she had completed her probation. The officer signed the paperwork and Moses was allowed to go.
Yet Moses’ voting rights could not be restored, because the officer was wrong: Her probation wouldn’t be complete until April 2022—something a judge had recently ruled on, and which the state contends Moses was well aware of prior to turning in the form.
Larry Buser works as a research and development specialist for Shelby County District Attorney’s Office. It wasn’t what actually happened. Though Moses argued it was an honest error—after all, a corrections officer signed off on her form—a jury didn’t buy it. “Defense counsel suggested that her fraudster conduct was excused by the negligent probation officer who relied on the defendant’s statements, and the incomplete search of her records,” Judge W. Mark Ward wrote in his sentencing memo. The law does not allow for this argument to be used as a defense. This argument is equivalent to saying that someone who takes money from a bank pretending to be another person does not have to face criminal charges. The bank should have detected the fraud, and not give the money to the thief.
Moses insists that she wasn’t genuinely ignorant. “She is right in every form, fashion to believe…that her sentence has expired, because they are the keepers’ of her record,” says Bede Anyanwu, Moses’ attorney. She should be examined by anyone who is praising her.
However, I am not interested in the question of whether Moses is guilty or innocent. More important to me is the admission of DA Weirich. He, regardless of guilt or innocence, acknowledged that Moses’ lengthy imprisonment stay was an “unfortunate outcome” for a defendant who wants a jury hear her case.
Weirich spoke out in response to a MSNBC segment. The host of MSNBC compared Moses’s case with four other cases of voter fraud involving white Republican men who used dead relatives’ names to vote for President Donald Trump. Three received probation and the fourth spent three days in prison. Maddow said that this is a powerful example of the “two justice system”.
Weirich’s assertion was intended to counter those claims. Moses also could have benefited from a great deal if she had wanted. But that argument is not always the strongest, according to Carissa Byrne Shesick, UNC Chapel Hill professor and author of How to Plea bargain and avoid being punished without trial:She says, “What is astonishing to me is the lack of recognition by criminal justice professionals that sending somebody to jail for six years to exercise their constitutional rights isn’t equally problematic or disturbing.”
It is unpredictable and costly to have juries trial. This is why about 97% of all cases are settled with plea bargains. Weirich’s statement demonstrates that bargaining tactics are sometimes coercive. Defendants are constantly told by Weirich that they can pay their own liberty if they continue to inconveniencing government with trial.
It’s “utterly typical and common,” says Ken White, a partner at Brown White & Osborn LLP and the man behind the popular “PopehatThe Twitter account. Prosecutors are able to decide who is offered which deal. This can lead to people having to choose between admitting they did something wrong or surrendering their defenses to face a longer sentence.
This may not sound like logic, but it is possible that innocent people would be willing to plead guilty in exchange for an unrelated crime. This is not the case when they consider what their options are: Go to trial, risk your life, and plead guilty.
For aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault, Levonta barker was at the crossroads. He received a plea agreement of 7.5 years. Maricopa County Attorney’s Office warned him that he would be subject to a more severe punishment if he did not see all the evidence. Because he was innocent, there was not evidence against him. His attorney ultimately pointed out that, per police reports, Barker was wearing a different outfit than the one the perpetrator was seen in—something the government had not bothered to verify. Barker was in prison for a month before being released.
If you’re lucky enough to have such a life, not everyone can be. This is what I do all the time. I see people accepting…pleas on charges they did not commit,” says Anyanwu. That is very disappointing.