Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich says it’s Pamela Moses’ own fault that she is serving a six-year sentence for voter fraud.
“I gave her a chance to plead to a misdemeanor with no prison time,” Weirich said. “She requested a jury trial instead. She set this unfortunate result in motion and a jury of her peers heard the evidence and convicted her.”
In a statement sent to The New Tri-State Defender, Weirich defended her actions and that of Shelby County Criminal Court Judge W. Mark Ward, who sentenced Moses to six years and one day on Jan. 31. Moses was convicted in November of illegally registering to vote while still on probation.
Weirich’s statement was in response to an MSNBC segment on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” which charged that Moses is a victim of “two justice systems.” Additionally, some legal experts called the sentence “excessive and baffling” for a woman who illegally registered to vote while on probation.
Maddow blasted Weirich for bringing charges, prosecuting the case and endorsing a six-year sentence for Moses.
“Charges should have been dropped since Pamela Moses was still on the voter rolls,” said Maddow. And the DA sends out press releases after sentencing like it’s something to crow about. And District Attorney Amy Weirich’s record is riddled with misconduct.”
Supporters of Moses said she is in every sense “a political prisoner.”
“I was the one who called and emailed national news franchises about the sentence that was passed down on Pamela Moses for a mistake,” said Brandy Price, a social justice activist. “Pam Moses was thrown in prison when her bond was revoked right before Christmas. Her activism made her a political prisoner.”
Maddow compared Moses’ punishment with four, white Republican men who “intentionally committed voter fraud” by casting ballots for Trump in the name of a dead relative.
“Three of these men got probation, and one received a jail sentence of three days,” Maddow said. “This woman fills out papers to regain her right to vote. Department of Corrections and election commissioners signed off on the documents. Pamela Moses gets prosecuted and sentenced to six years. This is bald-faced in its unfairness and outrageousness.”
Maddow said there could not be a more “stark contrast about justice in our country” and that Weirich was effectively criminalizing the attempt to vote.
The segment’s guest, Janai Nelson, associate director-counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, called Moses’ sentence “the confluence of racial discrimination and voter suppression.”
“The sentence is emblematic of draconian laws which disenfranchise ex-felons,” said Nelson. “Blacks are four times the number of all others combined who are disenfranchised. Another Black person was sentenced to prison in Texas for attempting to vote.”
Maddow also criticized Judge Ward.
“The judge said Pamela Moses tricked those officials into signing those documents,” said Maddow. “What is she, a sorcerer?”
Weirich said Moses’ sentence was appropriate.
“The judge sentenced her according to the law – weighing her 16 prior convictions which include violence, tampering with evidence, stalking a judge, perjury, and aggravated assault,” Weirich’s statement read.
“She will likely be released after serving 9 months…this is an unfortunate situation, and we hope those around Ms. Moses get her the help she needs upon release.”
Price said Weirich brought charges despite knowing about Moses’ “disability.”
“Weirich says Pam did this to herself, but still acknowledges that there is a mental disability,” said Price.
“Most of those convictions happened 20 years ago, and Moses has suffered multiple brain injuries. Yet, Weirich doesn’t take Pam’s disability into account. The mask is lifted off the ugly face of America. We are living in apartheid.”