MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Black Lives Matter activist Pam Moses wants all charges against her dropped in an illegal voting case.
Moses was convicted of illegally registering to vote and sentenced to six years in prison, but was then granted a new trial by the same judge.
Moses and her lawyers held a press conference outside the Criminal Justice Center Friday morning.
“I’m praying for Memphis, and I’m praying for the salvation of a district attorney, and I hope that she will do the right thing because my lawyers are ready to fight,” Moses said.
Moses was stripped of her right to vote after pleading guilty to a felony, but the Department of Correction gave her a form showing her rights had been restored. She took the form to the Shelby County Election Commission.
Her attorneys say though the form was later found to be an error, Moses assumed it was correct. They contend Moses was jailed for someone else’s mistake and the district attorney took the case to trial anyway.
“If this case is not dismissed, we will fight for Ms. Moses. We will fight for Miss Moses. I can assure you we will not leave until this woman is completely free,” said attorney James Bryant.
A document later surfaced showing Department of Corrections admitted the error, but that document was never produced at trial. When the sentencing judge got it, he ordered a new trial.
“There’s key evidence that was not brought up during cross examination during direct examination that would exonerate Miss Moses,” attorney Rodney Diggs said. “We would not have been here today.”
“I gave her a chance to plead to a misdemeanor with no prison time. She requested a jury trial instead,” Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said in a statement. “She set this unfortunate result in motion and a jury of her peers heard the evidence and convicted her. The Tennessee Department of Correction failed to turn over a necessary document in the case. The error was made by the TDOC and not any attorney or officer in the office of the Shelby County District Attorney.”
Moses’ team says this is about Tennessee disenfranchising voters.
“So hopefully, the one silver lining from this issue is that the state in the eyes come on to the state to say ‘Hey, we need to update these laws, these voter registration laws,’ and I mean, there’s been a movement across the country,” said attorney Reganel Reeves.
“The future of Memphis and America is on the line here,” Moses said.
Moses’s new trial is set for April 25.