Pamela Moses, the Memphis woman sentenced to six years in prison earlier this month for charges of illegally registering to vote, will get a new trial, a Tennessee judge ruled Friday after new evidence surfaced in the case.
Moses, 44, was convicted in November 2021 of illegally registering to vote in 2019 and was sentenced to six years and one day. She maintains that she was unaware that she was ineligible to vote.
The case hinges on what happened in 2019, when she tried to restore her voting rights, and asked a probation officer to complete the certificate that starts the process in Tennessee. The officer certified that Moses had completed probation for the crimes impacting her voting rights, so Moses submitted the certificate and registered to vote.
But The Guardian reports the officer who signed the certificate “failed to adequately investigate the status of this case,” according to a document not presented at the initial trial.
That document prompted the motion for a new trial, which Criminal Court Judge W. Mark Ward granted on Friday.
Moses’ situation is complex and dates back more than two decades. A guilty plea in a felony case first stripped her of her right to vote in 2000, she regained it, and lost it again in 2015, after pleading guilty to two more felonies.
At that time she pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and forgery, both felonies, and misdemeanor perjury, stalking, theft and escape.
According to court records she stalked a judge who had declared her in contempt of court, fabricated a judicial complaint form against the judge, forged a notary public’s signature and created a false notary seal to make the form appear official. She also jumped out of a police car on the interstate.
During the initial trial, the judge who sentenced Moses accused her of deceiving officials, but Moses argued that she believed her voting rights had been restored when she looked into voting in 2019.
In a statement issued late Friday afternoon, Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich said: “The Tennessee Department of Correction failed to turn over a necessary document in the case of Pamela Moses and therefore her conviction has been overturned by the judge.”
Contributing: Maria Perez and Monique O. Madan, USA TODAY
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