Crystal Mason, Imprisoned For Illegal Voting In 2016, Appeals To Texas Top Court

Written by on December 2, 2020

Crystal Mason, a Black girl who was imprisoned in Texas for casting a provisional poll in 2016 whereas she was ineligible to vote, is interesting to overturn her conviction.

“This is among the most essential voting rights instances in trendy Texas historical past,” stated Andre Segura, authorized director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, in a press launch asserting the enchantment. The submitting, submitted Monday to the Texas Courtroom of Legal Appeals, cites as precedent the case of Tom DeLay, a former high-level Texas congressman whose conviction for marketing campaign finance violations was overturned by the court docket in 2013. 

“In reversing the legal conviction of former Republican U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, the Courtroom held that a person should really understand they’re performing in violation of the Election Code with the intention to be lawfully convicted for such a violation,” Segura stated. Mason contends she didn’t understand she was ineligible to vote.

The Texas ACLU is amongst a workforce of authorized specialists supporting Mason’s effort to overturn her conviction, which has been broadly condemned by human and civil rights activists.

In 2018, a Texas decide sentenced Mason to 5 years in jail for voting illegally, after she submitted a provisional poll in 2016 whereas on supervised launch for a earlier tax fraud conviction. Texas regulation prohibits folks with felony convictions from voting till they’ve accomplished their sentence. Throughout her trial, Mason stated she wasn’t conscious that she was ineligible to vote on the time she forged her poll and a probation official testified that he’d by no means warned her she would face repercussions if she tried to vote. Though Mason’s provisional poll was by no means counted, she was nonetheless convicted and served a number of months in jail for unlawful voting.

Her case garnered nationwide consideration, with civil rights activists pointing to Mason’s imprisonment for example of voter suppression and the disproportionately punitive therapy that Black folks usually obtain from the federal government when making an attempt to vote. Her conviction was nonetheless upheld by a decrease appeals court docket in March of this yr. She has now turned to the Texas Courtroom of Legal Appeals, which is successfully the state’s supreme court docket for legal instances.

When HuffPost spent a number of days with Mason forward of oral arguments in that earlier enchantment, she shared that the conviction had already devastated her life, inflicting her to lose her job and probably her residence and forcing her to go away obligations to her teenage daughter whereas Mason went to jail. She was launched to a midway home this spring.

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